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'File 39/24 Seabed concession, Qatar' [‎45r] (89/104)

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The record is made up of 1 file (50 folios). It was created in 23 Dec 1947-17 Dec 1950. 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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No. C/PA-449.
7th December, 19?0-
From the several copies of letters addressed to
the Ruler of Bahrein which you have transmitted to this company,
together with letters addressed by the Ruler to His Britannic
Majesty's Government, it is evident that a dispute exists
concerning the sovereign in whom lie rights of jurisdiction
over a considerable portion of sea area between the main islan
of Bahrein and the Qatar peninsula.
The determination of sovereign rights is, of course,
a matter for the sovereigns concerned. Since important property
and contractual rights of The Bahrein Petroleum Company are
involved, however, this company is necessarily interested in
a settlement of the dispute in accordance with justice. nis
Britannic Majesty's Government has likewise taken an interest
in securing a just and friendly settlement, and, this company
has no doubt, will use its great influence to promote that
Some 12 years ago The Bahrein Petroleum Company and
the company holding the Qatar oil concession then supposed to
extend to the limits of Qatari jurisdiction were prime competitors
for an oil concession from the Ruler of Bahrein which would
include all the sea areas under his jurisdiction m the directio
of Qatar. At that time the history of the area was ^nown to
all who were interested. It was well understood tnat tne
neonle of the island state of Bahrein had for centuries secured
their livelihood from the seas, where^alarge proportion ox them
lived for many months of each year, diving for pearls, trapping
the fish that provided much of their food, taking fresh water
from the undersea springs, drying their fish on Sj ? oa ^
sandspits from one to another of which they moved their barasti
huts with the change of seasons. ^ As the semi-nomadic tri es
of the mainland developed a home in the land areas around ;n
they moved iid lived and thus affixed in their Government sovereign
riphts to those areas, so these island people made a home of the
seas and shoals upon which they lived. Much of this activity
of the business of life tocknlace in the area between Qaoar and
the main island of Bahrein, both of which had been the homes of
the Rulers of these people.
Knowing this background, and knowing also that few
neonle lived even on the mainland of this si £®.°f, t ^ e 3 a ^ ar
Peninsula, a desolate and inhospitable land blighted by the
absence of sweet water, the Qatar company, in proposing that
the Ruler of Bahrein divide his area and grant part to each
comoeting company, drew a boundary line at the place where it
assumedthe Qatari jurisdiction, to the limit of which it believed
it had a concession, ended and Bahrein jurisdiction began.
Although he did not say that this marked the outer limit of
his domains, the Ruler of Bahrein accepted this line as a
boundarv^t 5 least on the Bahrein side of which all area was

About this item


The file contains correspondence, mostly in English and Arabic, between the Ruler of Qatar, Shaikh ‘Abdullāh bin Jāsim Āl Thānī (from August 1949 Shaikh ‘Alī bin ‘Abdullāh Āl Thānī); the Ruler of Bahrain, Shaikh Salmān bin Ḥamad Āl Khalīfah; the Adviser to the Government of Bahrain and 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. at Bahrain; regarding the jurisdiction over the seabed adjacent to the coastline, for the purpose of oil drilling offshore. The papers include a dispute between the Ruler of Qatar and Petroleum Development Qatar Ltd on the interpretation of the oil concession with regard to the Qatar coastal waters and Decision of Arbitrators (folios 13-19).

The file also contains correspondence with the Ruler of Qatar and Superior Oil Company, concerning the Company’s request for permission to drill in the shoals represented on folio 41, and considering claims of the Ruler of Bahrain over the same shoals.

Extent and format
1 file (50 folios)

The papers in the file are arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence commences at the front cover with 1 and terminates at the back cover with 52; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located 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. An additional incomplete foliation sequence is also present in parallel between ff 2-51; these numbers are written in a combination of pencil and ink, but are not circled, and are located in the same position as the main sequence.

Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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'File 39/24 Seabed concession, Qatar' [‎45r] (89/104), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/891, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 11 November 2019]

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