EGEE 120
Oil: International Evolution

The Prize, Chapter 7 Overview


The Prize, Chapter 7 Overview

In the early days of the oil industry, we saw the emergence of powerful companies- Standard Oil in America, Royal-Dutch Shell in Europe, and the Far East, and in this chapter, we are introduced to Anglo Persian Oil Company. Anglo Persian was born from a syndicate of other companies, an arrangement necessary to deal with the logistical challenges of this new area, as well as managing competing interests from nearby countries, not the least of which was Russia. There was little to no transportation network in Persia at the time of initial oil exploration. Among the many challenges were difficult terrain and weather (workers' quarters could get to 120 degrees), hostile culture towards the outside world, lack of technical skills, and feuds between tribes.

What makes the oil picture in this part of the world so volatile is that the history of the area is volatile. During the days covered in this chapter we speak of Persia, in 1935 it became what we know today as Iran. We all know from the news that Iran is not only a challenge politically, it is also gifted with incredible amounts of oil reserves. Control of these oil reserves would be pivotal in geopolitics from then to the present. We shall see in future chapters that this marriage of political turmoil and oil riches are characteristic of many of these Middle East countries.

The Prize

Chapter 7 - "Beer and Skittles" in Persia

Sections to Read
  • Introduction
  • Russia versus Britain
  • The "Syndicate of Patriots"
  • To the Fire Temple: Masjid-i-Suleiman
  • Racing the Clock
  • The "Big Company": Anglo Persian
Questions to Guide Your Reading:
  • What are some characteristics of the clash of British vs. Persian cultures?
  • What emerged as key to the strategic positioning of Russia vs. Britain in regard to their navies?
  • What was happening to Standard Oil?