Lessons In Oil

July 21, 1954 — The Courier-Mail

The Mossadegh Project | August 2, 2020                          

Lead editorial in The Courier-Mail newspaper (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) — “Brisbane’s largest audited daily circulation”.

Australian media archive
Iran Oil Consortium | Archive 1953-1954

Persia’s lesson

WHEN three years ago the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was ordered to quit Persia and to hand over its great refinery at Abadan to a board set up to carry out nationalisation of Persia’s oil industry some people were shocked by what appeared to be the tame acquiescence of the British Government. This, they moaned, was another retreat that would lower British prestige throughout the Middle East.

But British patience has been justified. It has given time for the Persians to find out that their oil is of little worth to them without the skill needed to pipe it from wells and refine it, and without an organisation to market it. During the last three years the rest of the world has managed without Persian oil. As a consequence of increasing production from other oil fields in the Middle East there is to-day, excluding Persia, an immediate world surplus productive capacity of crude oil amounting to about 1.5 million barrels daily.

The bankruptcy of his policy of “going it alone” with oil nationalisation brought about the downfall of Dr. Mossadeq. A new Persian Government is now ready to accept a marketing partnership with a consortium of oil companies, including the Anglo-Iranian. The British Government never disputed the right of a sovereign Persian Parliament to decree the nationalisation of Persia’s oil deposits. What it insisted on was compensation for cancellation of the Anglo-Iranian Company’s concession.

Whatever that compensation may be will have to be earned by Persian oil. So common sense is bringing all parties to an agreement that will help the Persians to make what success they can of their nationalised oil industry. Oil companies that will have to invest a large amount of capital to give them this help and to put back into working order the Abadan refinery and all the machinery of oil production will require firm security for it.

They have also learnt a lesson. It is not enough to have concessions for exploiting the oil resources of Middle Eastern countries. The peoples of those countries must be satisfied that they are getting a fair share of the wealth taken from their lands.

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Related links:

Persian Oil | The West Australian (Perth), July 21, 1954

Oil From Persia | The Mercury (Australia), November 1, 1954

Iran Oil Dispute Ends | The San Bernardino County Sun, Aug. 9, 1954

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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