Mina de petroli dels "Francesos" de Riutort Guardiola de Berguedà

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At the end of the 19th century, Catalan industrialists, realizing the country's limitations in obtaining energy resources, placed their hopes in the exploitation of Catalan coal deposits and, more specifically, in obtaining oil from the treatment of different types of rocks.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the existence of requests for the exploitation of bituminous marls in the Riutort area was known. It was the Frenchmen Jules León Clavier y Gosselet and Philippe Petit Brice who, through their company, Compañía Minera de Riutort, created in 1906, began the construction and exploitation of the mine. Due to the nationality of the new owners, the Riutort oil mine has since been known as the "French mine".

In the 340 meters of the Riutort Oil Mine, between the main, transversal and secondary galleries, and during the 10 years that it was in operation (1906-1916), approximately 3,500 tons of bituminous marl were extracted, which gave an average that did not exceed 70 liters of oil per ton. Initially, oil was extracted from the layers of bituminous marl that emerged outside, but later, in order to obtain greater yield, the bituminous marl was searched through a system of galleries.

The material was extracted from the mine with animal-drawn carts along a 600 mm wide track, to be dried and thus extract all the water and humidity it may contain. This is when the resulting product was introduced into rotating kilns that distilled the raw material and converted it into a low-quality bituminous oil, used mainly for lighting petroleum or kerosene lamps, for greasing or for paving the roads. streets. The difficulty represented by the distillation of the extracted mineral, due to its subsequent conversion into low-quality bitumen, and the little use it received, meant that shortly after starting exploitation, the extractive activity had to be stopped.

The restoration process of the mine mouth and part of the 340 meters of galleries, turn this mine into a visitable resource that allows you to see the different layers of marl and limestone, and how the oil gushes out, feeling the characteristic smell of hydrocarbons.


  • Saturday mornings at 10:00, 11:30 and 13:00.
  • Sundays and holidays at 10:00, 11:30 and 13:00

*Outside these hours, visits arranged in advance.

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