Since antiquity, natural petroleum seeps were known, and the petroleum collected there was used for a variety of purposes. Not until the mid-nineteenth century, however, was any formal effort made to extract the oil for commercial use. When this finally happened, the first place people drilled for oil was near these seeps, assuming that they portended oil below. Oil seeps had been found for thousands of years in Persia.
In 1901, British businessman William D'Arcy convinced the Persian government to award him a concession for oil exploration, extraction, and sales in exchange for £20,000 and 16% of profits over the next 60 years. At one point when he was on the verge of bankruptcy, D'Arcy appealed to the British government for help; they agreed to assist him, fearing he might otherwise sell his concession to a foreign country such as Russia. Britain, still a great power at that time, a
|Liveleak on Facebook|