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File 10/1 VIII Bahrain Oil Concession [‎176v] (380/555)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (270 folios). It was created in 15 Apr 1934-3 Jul 1934. It was written in English and Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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May 5, 1934
more accurately, from the beginning of 1930. From that
time to the end of last year the United States and the
Dutch West Indies have almost changed places as the
leading consignors. One may choose to consider the
latter as practically representing Venezuela, since in
recent years crude from Venezuela has formed the basis
of most of the Dutch West Indian oil exports. American
supplies have fallen in these six years to a poor third
place, with those fiom the Dutch West Indies reaching
almost the same great hold on the British market the
United States had for so long. It would be more correct
to say that this revolutionary change has been wrought
in the three years since 1920.
Many reasons may have helped to account for this.
Foremost must surely be the United States oil import
tariffs and their consequences in forcing new outlets for
foreign oils to be found. America cannot be blamed
for protecting her own markets in the face of domestic
over-production, but, as is now becoming evident, it is
a policy not without disadvantages, even dangers.
There are signs this year that America is regaining
some of the British trade lost, doubtless assisted by
current exchange rates. This may continue, but it is
difficult to visualise a return to the former position of
Other factors, some partly conjecture in their
detailed effects, have undoubtedly played apart in effect
ing the changes made clear by this survey. Among such
are the measure of agreement for the co-ordination of
interests now existent between the Royal Dutch-Shell
and the Anglo-Persian oil companies ; the vast extension
of the Standard of New Jersey's foreign interests through
the Pan-American deal; and lastly, the belief that the
leading international oil groups in conference a few
years ago decided on certain principles of more rational
geographical distribution of oils to European and other
Some of these factors suggest that the decline in
American oils by no means implies a corresponding loss
m revenue to American oil companies. It is certain that
this has not been the case, and, financially, for all one can
tell, America may indirectly be now gaining a far larger
proportion from the British trade than the 1933 figures
would suggest.
Wliile Dutch West Indian and American consignments
have been changing places, Persia has retained a fairly
constant share of the trade—with one important differ
ence. From the standpoint of British industrial activity
and empioyment one can but regret the substitution of
finished oils for imports of the raw material. Since 1928
crude oils declined from 408.4 to 221.7 million gallons
while refined products rose to 369.2 from a mere 85.8
million gallons. This reflects largely the change in the
function of the company's South Wales refinery primarily
to a manufactory of special products.
The trade has no desire to see any complicated licensing
system, or any degree of compulsion, instituted for home
oil refining, but there are many who feel that there would
be national advantages in fiscal preferences to encourage
domestic production of a larger proportion of such oils
as indigenous coal can never yield in adequate quantities
on a competitive basis for decades, if ever. The danger
that any such policy would produce excess fuel oil f
compete further with coal should not be impossible 1°
overcome. 0
Even among the smaller suppliers' figures manv
interesting suggestions arise. Roumania is an instance
Why last year's decline in the British market ?--W
regarded as her principal oil outlet. Any inability to
compete with oils from other sources must be due not
to the lack of skill or enterprise of Roumania's petroleum
industrialists but to burdens imposed in the countrv
by the State. Excessive taxation in its many forms
high charges for oil transport facilities not always in
keeping with modern requirements ; and particularly
the lack of pipelines are all obstacles to Roumania's
oil export trade which are undoubtedly contributory
factors. ^
On the great decline in Russian oil imports since
1931, much could be written did space permit. In 1930
these held almost as large a share of the British trade as
the Dutch West Indies. To what extent Russia can be
expected to purchase British manufactured goods if
this country ceases to purchase one of the few commo
dities Russia has to sell must be left for others to decide
One thing is certain, no longer can the cry of Russian oii
dumping be raised. It was shown in this journal last
week that the values of her oils are alone in showing a
general rise this year.
Other points disclosed in this survey are the gradual
rise of Mexican deliveries and of Peruvian crude ; the
decline in direct Venezuelan deliveries ; the cessation of
Colombian oils ; the regrettable waning of British Empire
sources such as Sarawak and Straits Settlements ; and
finally, the Trinidad position. While last year deliveries
of crude oil from that colony showed an increase, over
the period back to 1928 the position has been a replace
ment by refined oils, particularly by motor spirit in
recent years. The result is that the 1933 total almost
reached the record of 1929 in gallonage, but with far
greater financial benefit from the substitution of higher
price products although the country has lost certain
benefits from home refining.
Even if all the British Empire oil exports could never
occupy any very large share of the British oil trade, it
might still be in the interests of inter-imperial commerce
to institute some degree of fiscal preference to the few
Empire oil sources.
The details disclosed by this survey of the money paid
these consigning countries suggest that there is much
foundation for the assertion made recently to the Oil
Industries Club by Mr. F. Godber. He claimed that only
a small part of the money spent in Great Britain on so-
called foreign oils found its way into foreign pockets. By
far the greater part, in his opinion, remained in British
Having briefly surveyed past changes, we can turn to
the future. Is the present position likely to remain
stable for a while ? There are many answers petroleum
economists will await with interest. Can America
recover her trade ? Is Roumania's setback but tem
porary ? Can Russia once again become the important
factor she was ?—are some such queries.
Or is the present but a phase in a larger changeover not
yet fully apparent ? Even disregarding the vast new oil
sources of Russia awaiting development, there are the
proved fields of Iraq, and, to a lesser extent, of Bahrein
Islands, and possibly Morocco awaiting outlets—al
factors that may affect future world oil distribution.
Many would give much to know the answers to such
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About this item


The volume contains correspondence and telegrams between the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. in Bahrain, the Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in Bushire and representatives of the Bahrain Petroleum Company Limited (BAPCO) on the storage tanks calibration for the purpose of calculating the royalties payable to the Sheikh of Bahrain and on the first shipments of oil from Bahrain to Japan and Singapore.

The volume includes a copy of the draft lease contract with notes (folios 55-64), newspaper cuttings on oil in Bahrain and House of Commons' questions on Bahrain (folios 204-205). There are letters in Arabic with English translation, to and from the Sheikh.

There is an index at the end of the volume (folios 248-258).

Extent and format
1 volume (270 folios)

The documents in the volume are arranged in chronological order. There is an index at the end of the volume (folios 248-258). The index is arranged chronologically and refers to documents within the volume; it gives brief description of the correspondence with a reference number, which refers back to that correspondence in the volume.

Physical characteristics

The main foliation system starts on the 5th sheet with 1 and finishes with 259, wich is the last number given, on the 5th sheet from the back of the volume; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled and may be found in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Foliation anomalies: 56A and 56B; 57A and 57B; 58A and 58B; 60A and 60B; 61A and 61B; 61A and 61B; 63A and 63B.

Foliation omissions: folio 233

A second foliation sequence starts on folio 14 and continues through to folio 247; the numbering for this sequence starts at 13. These numbers are also written in pencil and may be located in the same position as the main sequence.

Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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File 10/1 VIII Bahrain Oil Concession [‎176v] (380/555), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/395, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 28 May 2020]

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