Pertisau in Tirol.
Inntalautobahn A12 exit Wiesing, B181 towards the Achensee, at Ebensee turn left to Pertisau.
Museum: all year daily 9-18.
Museum: Adults EUR 4.80, Children (0-12) free.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 4.
|Address:||Schaubergwerk Pertisau, Tiroler Steinölwerke Albrecht GmbH & CoKG, A-6213 Pertisau am Achensee, Tel: +43-5243-5877. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1902||Martin Albrecht discovers oil shale at the Seeberg on the west side of the Achensee, and starts mining.|
|1917||an avalanche destroys the mine.|
|1918||Martin Albrecht discovers a much bigger deposit at the Bächental.|
|1999||show mine closed due to new security regulations.|
The oil bearing rocks around the Achensee were deposited in a deep, oxygene less sea similar to todays Black Sea, which is called Thetys. This happened during the early Jurassic, the Lias, about 180 Ma ago, in the era of the dinosaurs, and the rocks contain numerous marine fossils, like Ichtiosaurs and Ammonites. One of the world famous dinosaur locations in Holzmaden in Germany is the same era within similar rocks.
The rock was formed by a muddy sediment which contained a lot of animal remains and algae. Dead sea life was sinking to the ground, but the groud had little water currents, and so there was not enough oxygene from the atmosphere to oxidize the fat. Instead anaerobic bacteria processed the sulfur in the mud.
Our technology and thus our civilization is based on oil, which is found in huge amounts in the Middle East, South America, Russia and the North Sea. But it is generally pumped from a layer, which contains a huge amount of oil and natural gas. At first it often has a big pressure and flows up without pumping, later it slows down and it has to be pumped. But this are secondary deposits, the oil was moving through the rocks and found a layer of porous rock like sandstone,which is covered by an impermeable layer like marl. As a result the oil is trapped.
But this mine is a primary deposit, the oil is still in the original rocks. The main problem is, that it has to be mobilized, before it leaves the rock. Also the amount of oil in the rock is relatively low, here it is about 4%. So it is necessary to mine the ore bearing rock and process it, for example by heating it. With the relatively easy and cheap alternative above, this process is not very rewarding. So this is a sort of anachronism.
The Steinölschaubergwerk Pertisau is the show only mine on earth where oil is mined. It is still working, but unfortunately not open to the public at the moment. This mine was used to produce oil when oil was not widely used and the main purpose of the oil was medical use. The oil is used as a nurturing product for skin and hair, against rheumatism and other joint diseases. As a matter of fact, the oil was sold at an much higher price than world market oil, for this reason.
The owner opened the working mine for visitors to show them how his product was made. But there was a mining accident in 1998 in Lassing, where many miners lost their lives. As a result, the security regulations for mines, which includes show mines, were dramatically increased. Unfortunately this is a really small mine and so the owner cannot afford to invest so much money, so the mine is closed at the moment. There might be a chance, the owner will redo the mine, or probably the officials give him a special permit, as this is not a dangerous mine at all. However, we will list it in the hope it might be reopened.
What remains is the Tiroler Steinöl Museum (Tyrolia Rock Oil Museum). It explains the mining, processing and medical use of the oil. The mine entrance was rebuilt, the visitor enters through a replica of the Martinsstollen (Martin tunnel), named after Martin Albrecht, the founder of the mine. There are numerous exhibits explaining the geology of the rock. There is a collection of fossils discovered during the mining, mostly ammonites. The mining history is displayed on huge paintings. An original Steinöl-Schweltiegel, a sort of furnace for oil bearing rocks, explains the process of oil produktion. The rock was burned at the bottom, and the heat evaporated the oil of the upper layers ofrock, which was then condensed in a box beneath. This is a sort of destillation process.