Published on Marzo 21st, 2019 | by Redazione Italia



Azerbaijan’s oil has a long history. People of this region used oil in ancient and middle ages.  Azerbaijan is onenaftalan of the world’s oldest oil producers and the city of Baku and Absheron Peninsula have long been known as historic sites for oil. Petroleum was used in trade as early as the 3rd and 4th centuries. Information about oil of  Absheron peninsula can be found in the manuscripts of most Arabic and Persian travellers and scientists .

Italian  famous traveller Marco Polo  also wrote about Azerbaijan oil. Marco Polo of Venice wrote about oil in Azerbaijan in his memoirs while travelling along the Ancient Silk Route. He mentioned a fountain of oil which discharged such a great quantity of oil that they used to load it up on camel caravans. He noted that the oil was used as a salve to cure skin diseases in men and cattle. He discovered that the oil was considered good for burning and that in the neighbouring country, no other oil was used in their lamps.

It was also used for heating and lighting in homes.  Men came from a long distance to fetch this oil .

From the ancient times both black and white oil were extracted naturally in Baku.

In the 17 century  German diplomat and traveller Adam Oleari also wrote about Baku oil and oil fields and transportation of oil to Iran, Central Asia and Turkey.

Famous German traveller, doctor and naturalist E. Kempfer also  visited Balakhany, Binegedi and Surakhany fields of the Absheron peninsula in 1683 as the secretary of Sweden embassy and depicted the transportation of oil from Absheron peninsula to Iran, Central Asia and North Caucasus. All these facts prove that Azerbaijan oil was always useful and had a great fame in the world.

In 1594 oil  well was  dug by hand on the Absheron Peninsula to a depth of 35 meters.

In 1821, the whole Absheron Peninsula, along with Baku, had 120 simply hand-dug oil wells.

The first oil well in the world was drilled in Absheron, Bibiheybat in 1847 using a primitive percussion drilling mechanism under the direction and initiation of Russian Engineer Semyonov. The years of 1847-1848 were characterized by the first production of industrial oil from the dug wells in Bibiheybat and later Balakhani fields and the development of oil industry of Azerbaijan started from that moment.

It was not until eleven years later that the first oil well in America was drilled in Pennsylvania. At the end of the XIX century oil extraction in Absheron peninsula enhanced and  Baku oil industry developed rapidly. Great oil boom attracted not only local barons but also attracted a lot of foreign investors. In a short period Baku became one of the biggest industrial centres of the world.  The first oil refinery was constructed in Baku in 1859. The kerosene plant was built by Djavad Melikov in Baku 1863.

In a short time as  in 1860’s Tsar Alexander II liberalized the Russian economy by allowing the entry of foreign capital a lot of foreigners invested money in Baku oil industry. They became oil barons , world-wide  millionaires by the help of Baku oil investment. They invested in buying lands, drilling oil wells, and refining and producing kerosene and other spheres too. The great Russian scientist , Dimitri Mendeleyev, went to Baku to advice in refining oil. Later Mendeleyev began working  as a consultant to the famous Swedish family of Nobels. Yes, Nobels also became one of the biggest investors of Azerbaijan, Baku oil. “Nobel Brothers Oil Production Society” company was established in 18 may 1879. The activities of company involved almost all spheres of oil industry, oil research, production, refining, transportation etc. Today, Nobel Prize (one of the most prestigious prize) is connected with Nobels’ name  which is given in accordance with the great labour in the area of the scientific researches, revolutionary inventions, the development of the society and culture. When Alfred Nobel was in Paris, he proposed in his testament to set up international prizes in the branches of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. And the first prizes were presented as Nobel wish, in Stokholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway, in year 1901. Alfred Nobel spent 30 million krons to the building up of the prize system. 5 million and 200 thousand of this money was earned from Baku’s oil.   At the end of XIX and early XX centuries approximately twenty foreign companies were in Azerbaijan.

At that period the national oil millionaires made great contribution to the development of oil industry and other spheres of the country. Among these oil barons were Murtuza Mukhtarov, Hadjı Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, Isa bey Hadjinsky, Shamsi Asadullayev, Seyid Mirbabayev, Musa Nağıyev and others.

The first oil refinery was also built in Baku in 1878. This refinery was connected to the Balakhani oil fields via a newly constructed pipeline 12 km long. By the end of the 19th century Baku had become a centre for world-scale industrial investment. At the last years of the XIX century Baku became one of the biggest oil industry cities of the world (3).  In 1897 107 oil industry firm functioned in Baku and these firms extracted 421.727.161 poods of oil in this year.

Baku was the main oil provider for Russian Empire  and also during I and II World Wars for the Soviet Union.

baku-tblisi-ceyhan-pipelineThe development of well drilling technologies helped  to the discovery of a number of oil wells in Binegedi, Pirallahi, Surakhani and other  of Absheron peninsula, the increase in the production of oil, the development of oil infrastructure and oil refining and the creation of hundreds of companies engaged in oil production, refining and sales.

In 1884 Baku oil industrialists established their organization “Baku oil industrialists’ congress Council”. From January 1889 this organization began to organize medical aid and opened hospitals and out-patient hospitals in the oil industry regions. By the end of the 19th century, Baku’s fame as the “Black Gold Capital” had spread throughout the world.  To be continued…

Hasanova Ema Mehrab

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