The case of Ion Basgan

Ion Basgan (June 24, 1902, Focşani - December 15, 1980, Bucharest) was a Romanian engineer and inventor, famous for the discovery of the effect that bears his name.

He obtained the high school diploma in 1920 in Iaşi. With a scholarship, under contract with the oil company "Romanian Star", Basgan followed between 1920-1925 the Upper Austria School of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, and after graduation he worked on construction sites of the "Astra Română" Oil Company, becoming in 1930 the director of the sites in Moldova. In 1933 he obtained a Ph.D. at Montanistische Hochschule Leoben in Austria with the thesis entitled "Die Arbeitsweise und Form des Rotary Meissels", published in 1934 at Hans Urban Publisher in Vienna with a preface written by the famous engineer and inventor Gogu Constantinescu. The same year, he followed the political economy courses of the University of London and began his teaching career as an honorary professor at the Department of Petroleum Economics at the Academy of Commercial and Industrial Advanced Studies. Between 1944 and 1949 he was director of the company "Petrolifera" Wallachia, and between 1949 and 1954 he worked at the Ministry of Agriculture, to design and execute the boreholes for water supply of cities.

The research of Ion Basgan in oil drilling with sonicity combined with the "Basgan effect" started in 1932. Essentially, he developed a system for drilling for oil which used principles of sonics to drill wells cheaper, faster, and better. The theory was that using percussive as well as rotary drilling, and a counter-weight, oil wells could be drilled extremely quickly and be perfectly straight down as well. This invention also allowed for drilling up to and exceeding 15km of depth. His most important patents are: "Method for improving the efficiency of advanced rotary drilling, by rotation percussion and the depreciation of hydro mechanic pressure", patented in Romania (Patent no. 22789/1934) and then in the U.S., "Rotary Well Drilling Apparatus", patented in U.S. (Patent no. 2103137/1937) and refined later in Romania, "Rotary Hammer Drilling" (Patent no. 37743/1945). These inventions have revolutionized the oil drilling techniques, helping US oil drillers to reduce production costs by over 30 per cent. In 1967, Basgan patented in France, USA, Portugal and United Arab Emirates the invention "Rotary and percussive drilling system with sonic frequency, limiting the effect of Archimedes pressure, and the corresponding plant and equipment", which permitted the exceeding of the critical barrier of 8000 m depth. Ion Basgan published over 60 works, consisting of articles, topics discussed at conferences and treatises on drilling equipment.

Initially, these inventions were used in Romania. Since 1937, they were applied in the U.S. by all major oil companies. During the period of the Second World War, the inventions of the Romanian engineer were seized and freed only in 1965, by the Order 838/13.10.1965 of the Ministry of Justice of the United States. Basgan died without ever receiving any money for his invention. He wanted to use the fees to help young Romanian inventors, regardless of their field of activity. Over the past few years however, Basgan's sons has been fighting in court for the reparation of royalties from 200 US oil companies, with royalties totaling $8,634,836,458.00, to fulfill his father’s dream.