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The Middle East has so far not been discovered as a petroleum exploration area. It begins in 1901 with a 60-year concession of the Shah of Persia for William Knox D'Arcy, which leads to success not until 1908. Thereupon the 'Anglo-Persian Oil Company' is founded, the later and after strong British involvement will be to 'British Petroleum'. The long period of time between award a concession and successful drilling shows that the search for crude oil was quite a gamble at the time. This also explains why countries not themselves were able to expand were able to expand their petroleum deposits. Because the oil wells are located in the middle of the country, again are huge investments required for hundreds of kilometers of pipeline.

Now we have three states with larger oil companies. Germany has missed the connection in the search for colonies and therefore little influence in areas where petroleum is found. This results in later war-crucial reasons. To bridge the gap, Germany arms massively under Emperor Wilhelm II. Which in turn the number 1 of the naval force at that time call into action. Winston Churchill, the famous Prime Minister during the Second World War, is before the First World War, the Minister of Marine and adapt the steam turbines of his fleet to liquid fuel. Germany's newly developing ships sail for lack of oil further with coal. It is probably one of the reasons why one could not prevail against the Englishmen.

Of course it runs not always as smooth as with the concession in Iran. With the success of drillings one has to expect adversaries. The building of the Berlin-Baghdad railway includes mineral rights for the Germans, the anyway are running late. Of course the United States as the largest producer tries to gain a foot in the Middle East.

Calouste Gulbenkian is the man to advance the solution to these problems decisively. As a son of a rich petroleum dealer and confidant of the sultan, he has enjoyed an excellent education. He is an engineer and is fluent in French. He will have mastered the English language, too. After all, he becomes a British citizen at age 33. He early specializes in reporting on the Middle East oil production. Under adventurous circumstances, Gulbekian becomes the private secretary of an oil millionaire in Baku and thus has the overview of the Russian business practices.

He is already wealthy when he holds negotiations between Russian, British and Dutch interests, in which the Americans are left empty-handed. Even before the First World War, the 'Turkish Petroleum Company' is founded, in which, next to BP (47.6%) and Shell (23.7%), also the German Bank (23.7%) holds shares. Gulbekian himself receives the remainder (5%). 08/12



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