The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was a British company founded in 1908 following the discovery of a large oil field in Masjed Soleiman, Iran. It was the first company to extract petroleum from Iran. In 1935 APOC was renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) when Reza Shah Pahlavi formally asked foreign countries to refer to Persia by its endonym Iran. The British government purchased 51% of the company in 1914,gaining a controlling number of shares, effectively nationalizing the company.
Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With 82 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.
Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, i.e. separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point by means of distillation, typically using a fractionating column.
In 1954 it was renamed again to the British Petroleum Company (BP), one of the antecedents of the modern BP public limited company. The government of Mohammad Mosaddegh nationalized the company's local infrastructure assets and gave the new company the name National Iranian Oil Company . The British waged a trade war with Iran rather than pay Iran's new prices (the arrangement since 1901 had been that Iran got only 16%), and with the United States CIA arranged a military coup to depose Mosaddegh and install a regime more favorable to the UK.
BP plc is a British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is one of the world's seven oil and gas "supermajors", whose performance in 2012 made it the world's sixth-largest oil and gas company, the sixth-largest energy company by market capitalization and the company with the world's 12th-largest revenue (turnover). It is a vertically integrated company operating in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has renewable energy interests in biofuels, wind power. and solar technology.
A public limited company is a type of public company under United Kingdom company law, some Commonwealth jurisdictions, and the Republic of Ireland. It is a limited liability company whose shares may be freely sold and traded to the public, with a minimum share capital of £50,000 and usually with the letters PLC after its name. Similar companies in the United States are called publicly traded companies. Public limited companies will also have a separate legal identity.
Mohammad Mosaddegh was the 35th prime minister of Iran, holding office from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état orchestrated by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's MI6.
In 1901 William Knox D'Arcy, a millionaire London socialite, negotiated an oil concession with Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar of Persia. He financed this with capital he had made from his shares in the highly profitable Mount Morgan mine in Queensland, Australia. D'Arcy assumed exclusive rights to prospect for oil for 60 years in a vast tract of territory including most of Iran. In exchange the Shah received £20,000 (£2.1 million today), an equal amount in shares of D'Arcy's company, and a promise of 16% of future profits.
William Knox D'Arcy was one of the principal founders of the oil and petrochemical industry in Persia (Iran). Concession to explore, obtain, and market oil, natural gas, asphalt, and ozokerite was given to him and the concession known as the D’Arcy Concession in Iran.
London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
The D'Arcy Concession was a petroleum oil concession that was signed in 1901 between William Knox D'Arcy and Mozzafar al-Din, Shah of Persia. The oil concession gave D'Arcy the exclusive rights to prospect for oil in Persia. During this exploration for oil, D'Arcy and his team encountered financial troubles and struggled to find sellable amounts of oil. They were about to give up but eventually struck large commercial quantities of oil in 1908. After these large commercial quantities of oil were found, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company took over the concession in 1909.
D'Arcy hired geologist George Bernard Reynolds to do the prospecting in the Iranian desert. Conditions were extremely harsh: "small pox raged, bandits and warlords ruled, water was all but unavailable, and temperatures often soared past 50°C".After several years of prospecting, D'Arcy's fortune dwindled away and he was forced to sell most of his rights to a Glasgow-based syndicate, the Burmah Oil Company.
The Burmah Oil Company was a leading British oil business which was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. In 1966, Castrol was acquired by Burmah, which was renamed Burmah-Castrol. BP Amoco purchased the company in 2000.
By 1908, having sunk more than £500,000 into their Persian venture and found no oil, D'Arcy and Burmah decided to abandon exploration in Iran. In early May 1908, they sent Reynolds a telegram telling him that they had run out of money and ordering him to "cease work, dismiss the staff, dismantle anything worth the cost of transporting to the coast for re-shipment, and come home." Reynolds delayed following these orders and in a stroke of luck, struck oil shortly after, on 26 May 1908.
On 14 April 1909, Burmah Oil created the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) as a subsidiary and also sold shares to the public.
Volume production of Persian oil products eventually started in 1913 from a refinery built at Abadan, for its first 50 years the largest oil refinery in the world (see Abadan Refinery). In 1913, shortly before World War I, APOC managers negotiated with a new customer, Winston Churchill, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchill, as a part of a three-year expansion program, sought to modernise Britain's Royal Navy by abandoning the use of coal-fired steamships and adopting oil as fuel for its ships instead. Although Britain had large reserves of coal, oil had the advantage of greater energy density, allowing a longer steaming range for a ship for the same bunker capacity. Furthermore, Churchill wanted to free Britain from its reliance on the Standard Oil and Royal Dutch-Shell oil companies. In exchange for secure oil supplies for its ships, the British government injected new capital into the company and, in doing so, acquired a controlling interest in APOC. The contract that was set up between the British Government and APOC was to hold for 20 years. The British government also became a de facto hidden power behind the oil company.
APOC took a 50% share in a new Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) organised in 1912 by Calouste Gulbenkian to explore and develop oil resources in the Ottoman Empire. After a hiatus caused by World War I it reformed and struck an immense gusher at Kirkuk, Iraq in 1927, renaming itself the Iraq Petroleum Company.
In 1920, the APOC also acquired a northern oil concession that had been formally granted in 1916 to a former Russian subject, the Georgian Akaki Khoshtaria. To manage this new acquisition, the APOC formed a new subsidiary, the North Persia Oil Company, but the Iranians refused to accept the new company, giving rise to a lingering dispute over the northern Iranian oil. 61-65:
In 1923, a large quantity of oil was found at Naftkhana (now Khanaqin in Diyala Province), which was considered a "transferred territory" along the Iran-Iraq border.The Khanaqin Oil Company was registered in London as an APOC subsidiary.
During this period, Iranian popular opposition to the D'Arcy oil concession and royalty terms whereby Iran only received 16% of net profits was widespread. Since industrial development and planning, as well as other fundamental reforms were predicated on oil revenues, the government's lack of control over the oil industry served to accentuate the Iranian government's misgivings regarding the manner in which APOC conducted its affairs in Iran. Such a pervasive atmosphere of dissatisfaction seemed to suggest that a radical revision of the concession terms would be possible. Moreover, owing to the introduction of reforms that improved fiscal order in Iran, APOC's past practice of cutting off advances in oil royalties when its demands were not met had lost much of its sting.
In 1923, Burmah employed Winston Churchill as a paid consultant to lobby the British government to allow APOC to have exclusive rights to Persian oil resources, which were subsequently granted.In 1925, TPC received concession in the Mesopotamian oil resources from the Iraqi government under British mandate. TPC finally struck oil in Iraq on 14 October 1927. In 1928, the APOC's shareholding in TPC, which by now was named Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), would be reduced to 23.75%; as the result of the changing geopolitics post Ottoman Empire break-up, and the Red Line Agreement.
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The attempt to revise the terms of the oil concession on a more favourable basis for Iran led to protracted negotiations that took place in Tehran, Lausanne, London and Paris between Abdolhossein Teymourtash, Iran's Minister of Court 1925–32 and its nominal Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Chairman of APOC, John Cadman, spanned 1928–32. The overarching argument for revisiting the terms of the D'Arcy Agreement on the Iranian side was that its national wealth was being squandered by a concession that was granted in 1901 by a previous non-constitutional government forced to agree to inequitable terms under duress. In order to buttress his position in talks with the British, Teymourtash retained the expertise of French and Swiss oil experts.
Iran demanded a revision of the terms whereby Iran would be granted 25% of APOC's total shares. To counter British objections, Teymourtash would state that "if this had been a new concession, the Persian Government would have insisted not on 25 percent but on a 50–50 basis. Teymourtash also asked for a minimum guaranteed interest of 12.5% on dividends from the shares of the company, plus 2s per ton of oil produced. In addition, he specified that the company was to reduce the existing area of the concession. The intent behind reducing the area of the concession was to push APOC operations to the southwest of the country so as to make it possible for Iran to approach and lure other oil companies to develop oilfields on more equitable terms in areas not part of APOC's area of concession.
Apart from demanding a more equitable share of the profits of the company, an issue that did not escape Teymourtash's attention was that the flow of transactions between APOC and its various subsidiaries deprived Iran of gaining an accurate and reliable appreciation of APOC's full profits. As such, he demanded that the company register itself in Tehran as well as London, and the exclusive rights of transportation of the oil be returned to the Iranian government. In fact in the midst of the negotiations in 1930, the Iranian National Consultative Assembly approved a bill whereby foreign companies would be required to pay a 4 percent tax on prospective profits earned in Iran.
In the face of British prevarication, Iran decided to demonstrate Iranian misgivings by upping the ante. Apart from finally allowing the press to draft editorials criticizing the terms of the D'Arcy concession, a delegation consisting of Reza Shah and other political notables and journalists was dispatched to the vicinity of the oilfields to inaugurate a newly constructed road, with instructions that they refrain from visiting the oil installation in an explicit show of protest.
In 1931, Teymourtash who was travelling to Europe to enroll Crown Prince Mohammed Reza Pahlavi at a Swiss boarding school, decided to use the occasion to attempt to conclude the negotiations. According to Cadman, Teymourtash worked feverishly and diligently to resolve all outstanding issues, but succeeded only in securing an agreement in principle while key figures and lump sum payments were not settled:
He came to London, he wined and he dined and he spent day and night in negotiating. Many interviews took place. He married his daughter, he put his boy to school [Harrow], he met the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a change took place in our government, and in the midst of all this maze of activities we reached a tentative agreement on the principles to be included in the new document, leaving certain figures and the lump sum to be settled at a later date.
However, while Teymourtash was led to believe that after four years of exhaustive and detailed discussions, he had succeeded in navigating the negotiations on the road to a conclusive end; the latest negotiations in London were to prove nothing more than a cul de sac.
Matters came to a head in 1931, when the combined effects of over-abundant oil supplies on the global markets and the economic destabilization of the Great Depression, led to fluctuations which drastically reduced annual payments accruing to Iran to a fifth of what it had received in the previous year. In that year APOC informed the Iranian government that its royalties for the year would amount to a mere £366,782 while in the same period the company's income taxes paid to the British government amounted to approximately £1,000,000. Furthermore, while the company's profits declined 36 percent for the year, the revenues paid to the Iranian government pursuant to the company's accounting practices decreased by 76 percent. Such a precipitous drop in royalties appeared to confirm suspicions of bad faith, and Teymourtash indicated that the parties would have to revisit negotiations.
However, Reza Shah was soon to assert his authority by dramatically inserting himself into the negotiations. The monarch attended a meeting of the Council of Ministers in November 1932, and after publicly rebuking Teymourtash for his failure to secure an agreement, dictated a letter to cabinet cancelling the D'Arcy Agreement. The Iranian government notified APOC that it would cease further negotiations and demanded cancellation of the D'Arcy concession. Rejecting the cancellation, the British government espoused the claim on behalf of APOC and brought the dispute before the Permanent Court of International Justice at the Hague, asserting that it regarded itself "as entitled to take all such measures as the situation may demand for the Company's protection." The Permanent Court of International Justice was a tool of the League of Nations which, in turn, was dominated by the victors of World War I. At this point, Hassan Taqizadeh, had been appointed the new Iranian Minister entrusted with the task of assuming responsibility for the oil dossier. In modern political history, Taqizadeh is known as a secular politician who believed that "outwardly and inwardly, in body and in spirit, Iran must become Europeanized".Taqizadeh was to intimate to the British that the cancellation was simply meant to expedite negotiations and that it would constitute political suicide for Iran to withdraw from negotiations.
After the dispute between the two countries was taken up at the Hague, the Czech Foreign Minister who was appointed mediator put the matter into abeyance to allow the contending parties to attempt to resolve the dispute. Ironically, Reza Shah who had stood firm in demanding the abolishment of the D'Arcy concession, suddenly acquiesced to British demands, much to the chagrin and disappointment of his Cabinet. A new agreement with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was agreed to after Cadman visited Iran in April 1933 and was granted a private audience with the Shah. A new agreement was ratified by the National Consultative Assembly on May 28, 1933 and received Royal assent the following day.
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The terms of the new agreement provided for a new 60-year concession. The Agreement reduced the area under APOC control to 260,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi), required annual payments in lieu of Iranian income tax, as well as guaranteeing a minimum annual payment of £750,000 to the Iranian government. These provisions, while appearing favourable, are widely agreed to have represented an unfair deal for the Iranian government. The agreement extended the life of the D'Arcy concession by an additional 32 years, negligently allowed APOC to select the best 260,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi), the minimum guaranteed royalty was far too modest, and in a fit of carelessness the company's operations were exempted from import or customs duties. Finally, Iran surrendered its right to annul the agreement, and settled on a complex and tediously elaborate arbitration process to settle any disagreements that would arise.
The Anglo-Persian Oil Company continued its large Persian operations although it changed its name to the AIOC in 1935. By 1950 Abadan had become the world's largest refinery. In spite of diversification the AIOC still relied heavily on its Iranian oil fields for three-quarters of its supplies, and controlled all oil in Iran.
Under the 1933 agreement with Reza Shah, AIOC had promised to give laborers better pay and more chance for advancement, build schools, hospitals, roads and telephone system. AIOC did not fulfill these promises.
In August 1941, the Allied powers Britain and the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Iran in order to secure the oilfields and open a secure supply route to the USSR. The Persian Corridor sent over 4 million tonnes of American Lend-Lease and other materiel alone. Reza Shah was forced to abdicate in favor of his son whom they considered far more friendly to their interests.
Following World War II, nationalistic sentiments were on the rise in the Middle East, the most notable example being Iranian nationalism. AIOC and the pro-western Iranian government led by Prime Minister Ali Razmara, initially resisted nationalist pressure to revise AIOC's concession terms still further in Iran's favour. In May 1949, Britain offered a "Supplemental oil agreement" to appease unrest in the country. The agreement guaranteed royalty payments would not drop below £4 million, reduced the area in which it would be allowed to drill, and promised more Iranians would be trained for administrative positions. The agreement, however, gave Iran neither a "greater voice in company's management", nor the right to audit the company books. In addition, Iranian royalties from oil were not expected to ever drop to the proposed guarantee of £4 million and the reduced area covered all of the productive oilfields. When the Iranian Prime Minister tried to argue with AIOC head Sir William Fraser, Fraser "dismissed him" and flew back to the UK.
In late December 1950, word reached Tehran that the American-owned Arabian American Oil Company had agreed to share profits with Saudis on a 50-50 basis. The UK Foreign Office rejected the idea of any similar agreement for AIOC.
On 7 March 1951, Prime Minister Haj Ali Razmara was assassinated by the Fada'iyan-e Islam. Fada'iyan-e Islam supported the demands of the National Front, which held a minority of seats in Parliament, to nationalize the assets of the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. As Prime Minister, Razmara had convinced the majority that nationalization would be folly, but his assassination eliminated the sole voice powerful enough to oppose the demands of the National Front. Iranian anger about the lack of progress in the nationalization of AIOC was apparent when the assassination of Razmarawas marked by an obvious lack of mourning by the Iranian public. A raucous protest walkout by newspaper reporters ensued when a visiting American diplomat urged "reason as well as enthusiasm" to deal with the imminent British embargo against Iran.
By 1951, Iranian support for nationalisation of the AIOC was intense. Grievances included the small fraction of revenues Iran received. In 1947, for example, AIOC reported after-tax profits of £40 million ($112 million), but the contractual agreement entitled Iran to just £7 million (17.5% of profits) from Iranian oil.Britain was receiving more from AIOC than Iran. In addition, conditions for Iranian oil workers and their families were very bad. The director of Iran's Petroleum Institute wrote:
Wages were 50 cents a day. There was no vacation pay, no sick leave, no disability compensation. The workers lived in a shanty town called Kaghazabad, or Paper City, without running water or electricity, ... In winter the earth flooded and became a flat, perspiring lake. The mud in town was knee-deep, and ... when the rains subsided, clouds of nipping, small-winged flies rose from the stagnant water to fill the nostrils ....
Summer was worse. ... The heat was torrid ... sticky and unrelenting—while the wind and sandstorms shipped off the desert hot as a blower. The dwellings of Kaghazabad, cobbled from rusted oil drums hammered flat, turned into sweltering ovens. ... In every crevice hung the foul, sulfurous stench of burning oil .... in Kaghazad there was nothing—not a tea shop, not a bath, not a single tree. The tiled reflecting pool and shaded central square that were part of every Iranian town, ... were missing here. The unpaved alleyways were emporiums for rats.
Later in March 1951, the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, voted to nationalise the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) and its holdings, and shortly thereafter the Iranian public elected a champion of nationalisation, Mohammed Mossadegh, as prime minister.That led to the Abadan Crisis, in which, under British pressure, foreign countries agreed not to purchase Iranian oil, and the Abadan refinery was closed. The AIOC withdrew from Iran and increased the output of its other reserves in the Persian Gulf.
Mossadegh broke off negotiations with the AIOC in July 1951, after the AIOC threatened to pull its employees out of Iran, and Britain warned tanker owners that "the receipts from the Iranian government would not be accepted on the world market."The British ratcheted up the pressure on the Iranian government and drew up a detailed plan of an invasion to occupy Abadan, a contingency plan known by the code name "Buccaneer". That plan was ultimately rejected by both Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill. US President Harry S. Truman and US ambassador to Iran Henry F. Grady opposed intervention in Iran but needed Britain's support for the Korean War.
The United States was also opposed to nationalization of the AIOC, because of the fear that the idea of nationalization would spread to other places, but the US believed it would be possible to reach a face-saving agreement with Mossadegh, under which actual control and management of the organisation would remain with the AIOC.The United States sent Averell Harriman to Iran to convince Mossadegh of such a scheme. Arriving in Tehran on 15 July 1951, Harriman claimed that the United States accepted nationalization, yet insisted on having "a foreign-owned company to act as an agent of NIOC in conducting operations in Iran". The British were also in favor of pseudo-nationalization, sending Lord Privy Seal Richard Stokes to Iran, arriving on 3 August 1951, with the same aim as Harriman. Mossadegh adamantly opposed the plan, because he thought it would only "revive the former AIOC in a new form." Mossadegh's opposition caused the British to conclude that he had to go. Officials at the Ministry of Fuel and Power wrote in September 1951:
If Dr. Mussadiq (sic) resigns or is replaced, it is just possible that we shall be able to get away from outright nationalization ... It would certainly be dangerous to offer greater real control of oil operations in Persia. Although something might be done to put more of a Persian facade on the setup, we must not forget that the Persians are not so far wrong when they say that all our proposals are, in fact, merely dressing up the AIOC control in other clothing ... Any real concession on this point is impossible. If we reached settlement on Mussadiq's terms, we would jeopardise not only British but also American oil interests throughout the world. We would destroy prospects of the investments of foreign capital in backward countries. We would strike a fatal blow to international law. We have a duty to stay and use force to protect our interest ... We must force the Shah to bring down Mussadiq.
In October 1951, Mossadegh paid a visit to the United States, after the US embassy in Tehran had accidentally invited him (the invitation was actually meant for Churchill). There, in discussions with George C. McGhee, Mossadegh surprisingly agreed to a complex settlement, under which Iran would own the refinery in Kermanshah and administer the oilfields, and the much larger Abadan Refinery would be sold to a non-British company. The money from that sale would go to the AIOC as compensation. Furthermore, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) would sell a minimum of 30 million tons of crude oil annually to the AIOC for the next fifteen years, its board would consist of three Iranians and four non-Iranians, and the transactions of the NIOC would mostly remain in sterling. Mossadegh prolonged his visit on Washington's urging because the US administration believed that the incoming Conservative government of Winston Churchill would be agreeable to that deal. However, the deal was rejected by the British, who believed Mossadegh's downfall was imminent.Several major oil companies, such as Socony-Vacuum and Shell, assured the Ministry of Fuel and Power that they were also opposed to the agreement.
Efforts were made by the UK to settle the dispute through the International Court of Justice, although Iran contended that the issue of nationalization was outside the court's jurisdiction. On 22 July 1952, "the court accepted the Iranian argument that the dispute was between the Iranian government and a foreign corporation, not the British government; since the dispute was not about a treaty or convention with a foreign government, it was subject to Iranian domestic law". 51-124:
As the months went on, the crisis became acute. By mid-1952, an attempt by the Shah to replace Mossadegh backfired, and led to riots against the Shah and perceived foreign intervention. After that, Mossadegh returned with even greater prestige. At the same time however, his coalition was weakening, because Britain’s boycott of Iranian oil eliminated a major source of government revenue, and made Iranians poorer and thus unhappier by the day.
Britain was unable to subvert Mossadegh because its embassy and officials had been evicted from Iran in October 1952, but it successfully appealed to US anti-communist sentiment, depicting both Mossadegh and Iran as unstable and likely to fall under communist influence as they were weakened. It was alleged that if Iran fell, the "enormous assets" of "Iranian oil production and reserves" would come under communist control, as would "in short order the other areas of the Middle East".By 1953, both the US and the UK had new, more anti-communist and interventionist administrations, and the United States no longer opposed intervention in Iran.
The anti-Mossadegh plan was orchestrated by CIA under the code-name 'Operation Ajax', and by SIS (MI6) as 'Operation Boot'.In August, the American CIA, using bribes to politicians, soldiers, mobs, and newspapers, and with information from the British embassy and secret service, organized a riot which gave the Shah an excuse to remove Mosaddegh.
The Shah issued an edict forcefully removing the immensely popular and democratically-elected Mosaddegh from power, and General Fazlollah Zahedi led tanks to Mosaddegh's residence and arrested him. On 21 December 1953, Mosaddegh was sentenced three years' solitary confinement in a military prison, well short of the death sentence requested by the prosecutors. He was then kept under house arrest at his Ahmadabad residence, until his death on 5 March 1967.
With a pro-Western Shah and the new pro-Western Prime Minister, Fazlollah Zahedi, Iranian oil began flowing again and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which changed its name to British Petroleum (BP) in 1954, and tried to return to its old position. However, Iranian public opinion was so opposed that the new government could not permit it.
Under pressure from the United States, BP was forced to accept membership in a consortium of companies which would bring Iranian oil back on the international market. BP was incorporated in London in 1954 as a holding company called Iranian Oil Participants Ltd (IOP).The founding members of IOP included British Petroleum (40%), Gulf Oil (8%), Royal Dutch Shell (14%), and Compagnie Française des Pétroles (later Total S.A., 6%). The four Aramco partners — Standard Oil of California (SoCal, later Chevron), Standard Oil of New Jersey (later Exxon), Standard Oil Co. of New York (later Mobil, then ExxonMobil), and Texaco – each held an 8% stake in the holding company.
This group of companies at various stages came to be known as the Supermajors, the "Seven Sisters", or the "Consortium for Iran" cartel, and dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the 1970s.Until the oil crisis of 1973, the members of the Seven Sisters controlled around 85% of the world's known oil reserves.
All IOP members acknowledged that the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) owned the oil and facilities in Iran, and IOP's role was to operate and manage them on behalf of NIOC. To facilitate that, IOP established two operating entities incorporated in the Netherlands, and both were delegated to NIOC.Similar to the Saudi-Aramco "50/50" agreement of 1950, the consortium agreed to share profits on a 50–50 basis with Iran, "but not to open its books to Iranian auditors or to allow Iranians onto its board of directors." The negotiations leading to the creation of the consortium, during 1954-55, was considered as a feat of skillful diplomacy for the "Seven Sisters". Some viewed the move as one to quell the rising tensions of Iranians since it allowed IOP to divert and hide profits with ease—effectively controlling Iran's share of the profits.
Scottish Oils Ltd, established by Anglo-Persian in 1919 by merging five Scottish oil shale companies (Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company, Broxburn Oil Company, Pumpherston Shale Oil Company, Oakbank Oil Company and James Ross & Company Philpstoun Oil Works), was a producer of shale oil.Shale oil production in Scotland ceased in the early 1960s but there was an unsuccessful attempt to revive it in 1973. The company was wound up on 15 December 2010. The Scottish Oil Agency Ltd was a distributing and selling organisation of Scottish Oils Ltd. A Scottish Oil Agency rail tanker is preserved at the Museum of the Scottish Shale Oil Industry.
The British Tanker Company Limited (BTC) was formed in 1915, after the Anglo-Persian Oil Company decided to become a fully self-contained operation, directly owning a fleet of tankers for sea transport. On formation, the BTC had an initial budget of $144,000 with which to build seven steam-powered tankers. The Company's first tanker was the British Emperor, which was launched in 1916. The names of the first seven ships, and all later additions to the fleet, bore the prefix British.
Over the next decade, the demand for oil grew throughout the developed world, and the BTC expanded accordingly. By 1924, the fleet numbered 60 ships, with the 60th being the flagship, 10,762 deadweight tonnes (dwt), British Aviator. She was the BTC’s first diesel engine oil tanker, and at that time the most powerful single-screw motor ship in the world.
The economic depression of the early 1930s saw rising unemployment amongst merchant navies around the world. However, the BTC undertook a series of strategic mergers, and coupled with the continued support of the Shah of Iran, the APOC succeeded in strengthening its position within the industry.
In 1939, the British government chartered the whole fleet of 93 tankers to supply fuel to its armed forces during the Second World War. The fleet lost a total of 42 ships sunk during the war.
Within a year of peace in 1945, the BTC fleet had returned to its pre-war total of 93 vessels. The recovery continued with the building of 57 new tankers, each 12,000 dwt, which increased the tonnage of oil transported from Abadan refinery in Iran, whilst remaining light enough for the tankers to pass through the shallow waters of the Suez Canal.
In 1951, however, the situation changed dramatically, when the Iranian oil industry was nationalised, and the APOC removed all its staff from Iran.
The 1953 Iranian coup d'état, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup d'état, was the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the United States and the United Kingdom, and the first United States covert action to overthrow a foreign government during peacetime.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is an Iranian communist party. Formed in 1941, with Soleiman Mohsen Eskandari as its head, it had considerable influence in its early years and played an important role during Mohammad Mosaddegh's campaign to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and his term as prime minister. The crackdown that followed the 1953 coup against Mosaddegh is said to have "destroyed" the party, although a remnant persisted. The party still exists, but has remained much weaker as a result of its banning in Iran and mass arrests by the Islamic Republic in 1982, as well as the executions of political prisoners in 1988.
The Abadan Crisis occurred from 1951 to 1954, after Iran nationalised the Iranian assets of the BP controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) and expelled Western companies from oil refineries in the city of Abadan.
The National Front of Iran is an opposition political organization in Iran, founded by Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1949. It is the oldest and arguably the largest pro-democracy group operating inside Iran despite having never been able to recover the prominence it had in the early 1950s.
The National Iranian Oil Company, a government-owned corporation under the direction of the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran, is a national oil and natural gas producer and distributor headquartered in Tehran. It was established in 1948 and reinforced under The Consortium Agreement of 1954. NIOC ranks as the world's second largest oil company, after Saudi Arabia's state-owned Aramco.
Abdolhossein Teymūrtāsh was an influential Iranian statesman who served as the first Minister of Court of the Pahlavi Dynasty from 1925 to 1932, and is credited with playing a crucial role in laying the foundations of modern Iran in the 20th century.
All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror is a book written by American journalist Stephen Kinzer. The book discusses the 1953 Iranian coup d'état backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in which Mohammed Mossadegh, Iran's prime minister, was overthrown by Islamists supported by American and British agents and royalists loyal to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Haj Ali Razmara was a military leader and prime minister of Iran.
Hossein Fatemi was a scholar, journalist, and famous politician of Iran. A close associate of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, he proposed nationalization of Iranian oil and gas assets. Initially a journalist, he served as Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953. After the 1953 CIA-orchestrated coup d'état toppled the democratically elected government of Mosaddegh, Fatemi was arrested, tortured, and convicted by a military court of "treason against the Shah", and executed by a firing squad.
Ahmad Qavam, also known as Qavam os-Saltaneh, was a politician who served as Prime Minister of Iran five times.
Mozzafar Baghai is known best as an Iranian political figure of the 1940s and 50s. He rose to prominence during the national struggle against British control of Iran's oil industry. For decades, most Iranians had resented the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company for the perceived injustice of allocating most profits to the company and the British government, while only a very small proportion was given to Iran, despite the fact that the oil fields were on Iranian territory. Baghai made himself known as a fiery critic of the British and he allied himself with those of like mind, including Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. He was different from many other nationalists in that he held very left-wing views. He was able to best articulate this when he formed the Toilers Party of the Iranian Nation, a left-wing, nationalistic and anti-communist party that included such notables as Khalil Maleki. In 1949, the Toilers Party joined with Mossadegh and his liberal supporters in forming the National Front of Iran, which was an umbrella organization for all Iranians who were committed to the principles of freeing Iran from foreign domination, ending arbitrary rule and establishing a government dependent on the will of the people of Iran. In April 1951, one month after the oil industry was nationalized by the Majlis, Mossadegh was chosen by that elected body as the Prime Minister of Iran, subject to approval by the reigning Mohammad Reza Shah.
The United Kingdom v Iran  ICJ 2 was a public international law dispute between the UK and Iran. This case concerned the nationalization of Iran's oil which had been, in large part, controlled by the United Kingdom since the early 20th century.
Arteshbod Hossein Fardoust was a childhood friend of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and served for ten years as deputy head of SAVAK, the powerful Iranian intelligence agency.
The Abadan Crisis was a major event in Iranian history. It began in 1951 with the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company by the government of Iran, and the shutting down by the British of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's huge oil refinery in Abadan. It ended with a successful CIA-orchestrated coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mosaddeq in 1953, and enabled the Shah to rule autocratically for the next 26 years, before he was overthrown by the Iranian Revolution.
British Tanker Company Limited was the maritime transport arm of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, the forerunner of BP. Formed in 1915 with an initial fleet of seven oil tankers, the British Tanker Company became the BP Tanker Company in 1955.
The nationalization of the Iranian oil industry resulted from a movement in the Iranian parliament (Majlis) to seize control of Iran's oil industry, which had been run by private companies, largely controlled by foreign interests. The legislation was passed on March 15, 1951, and was verified by the Majlis on March 17, 1951. The legislation led to the nationalization of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (AIOC). The movement was led by Mohammad Mosaddegh, a member of the Majlis for the National Front and future prime minister of Iran. The movement to nationalize the oil industry was the reaction to the following concessions made by Iran to foreign powers: the Reuter concession of 1872, proceeding letter,D'Arcy Concession?] the 1933 agreement between the Iranian government and AIOC, and the Gas-golshaian[?] contract. According to the political scientist Mark J. Gasiorowski, the oil nationalization movement had two major consequences: the establishment of a democratic government and the pursuit of Iranian national sovereignty.
The Consortium Agreement of 1954 provided Western oil companies with 40% ownership of Iranian oil production after its ratifiication in 1954.
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