The British businessman William D’Arcy

The British businessman William D’Arcy

The British businessman William D’Arcy obtained an important concession for oil exploration in Iran on May 28,  1901 After the end of the First World War the struggle for control of the countries of the Middle East and their promising oil resources intensified between the United States and the European powers.  The Europeans were anxious to control these countries after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Fearing the early exhaustion of their reserves,  the Americans made a determined effort to obtain control of a considerable share of oil resources in promising areas,  particularly in the Middle East Iraq witnessed a fierce struggle over the acquisition of oil concession rights by foreign interests.  Although the British attempted to seize all the concession rights,  they finally agreed under pressure from their war-time allies that a group of European and American interests be granted the much sought-after concession in Iraq and,  later in various other areas formerly constituting provinces of the Ottoman Empire.  In Iraq the concession rights were effectively granted to the Turkish Petroleum Company in 1925,  which was later to become known as the Iraq Petroleum Company(IPC).

In 1930 the US Bahrain Petroleum Company(BAPCO)  obtained a concession for oil exploration in Bahrain;  and in Saudi Arabia the Arabian American Oil Company(Aramco)  obtained a concession covering the whole of Saudi Arabia in 1933.  In the following year,  a concession was granted by the Sheikh of Kuwait to the Kuwait Oil Company(KOC),  which was equally owned by the Gulf oil Corporation and the Anglo-Persian oil Company(APOC).  This was followed by the acquisition by the Iraq Petroleum Group of oil concessions in the Arab Emirates known at the time as the”Trucial Sheikhdoms,”  where the first concession was granted in Abu Dhabi in 1939 Oman and Qatar.

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