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Crude Oil 4

We must not forget that not only Germany has suffered losses in the form of oil interests after the First World War. The German ally, the Ottoman Empire, loses vast areas, which encompassed basically all countries of the Middle East including the present-day Saudi Arabia, except for Iran. These are aggregated anew by the British for example, partially based on economic interests. A country suffering particularly from these decisions even today is Iraq.

The construction of a pipeline out of Iraq requires negotiations over the interests on its path. Again, it's Gulbekian who brings the future contract partners to the table. This time, the Americans can be no longer cut off from the Middle East. Gulbekian again reaches a solution through division, and again he gets 5 percent. However, since he has long since been living in France, he sells this share to the company established in 1924 - the 'Compagnie Francaise de Pétrole'. Together with its subsidiary 'Compagnie Francaise de Raffinage', it forms later the Total Group.

The 'Turkish Petroleum Company' becomes the 'Iraq Petroleum Company' with gigantic concession zones on areas the size of Austria. Basically a few concessionaires guarantee a - from today's perspective - tremendously low oil price of 1 dollar per barrel and thus, an essential pillar of Western prosperity. It is the time when Henry Ford's product exceeds the 10-million mark and America begins to consider the car to be the minimum standard of a relatively tolerable life.

In the so-called but by no means comprehensive 'Roaring Twenties', Europe slowly follows with consumption. America exports eagerly and takes advantage of its superiority gained predominantly in the European war years. Although the number of products that require petroleum, there is still an excess supply, which is probably mainly caused by cheap Russian oil.

Despite the market power, given reduced sales opportunities outside the U.S., Standard Oil decides to reach a secret agreement with the two European partners BP and Shell to freeze the sales quotas. Meanwhile, Standard Oil has grown even more and established daughter companies: Texaco, Mobile, Gulf Oil and Standard Oil of California. On the American market, there are again strict antitrust laws that are eased only under pressure exerted by Standard Oil in World War II.

But on the rest of the market, there are different standards so an agreement is signed that allegedly remained valid for the next 30 years. Obviously, even today it results in the shared use of such facilities as refineries and other resources. Thus the amazing realisation, cartels allow an undisturbed growth and relatively low costs, but also untouchable profits at the expense of consumers. 05/18

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