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Kuwait Oil Company

KOC’s main role is to explore, develop and produce hydrocarbons within the State of Kuwait, promote the care and development of their people and deliver on their commitments to their stakeholders in a compliant, profitable, safe and environmentally responsible manner.

In 1921, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah became the Ruler of Kuwait. A brave and resourceful 4 Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (1921-1950).jpgleader, a man of vision, Sheikh Ahmad was to steer his people through difficult times as the 1920s drew to a close. The cultured pearl industry became a serious, and ultimately overwhelming, competitor to Kuwait's main industry of pearl Ping. In spite of this, and despite a worldwide decline in trade as the 1930s began, he kept his faith in the future. This was largely because of the existence of several strange black patches of a rough bituminous substance which had long been observed in different parts of the Kuwaiti desert. Sheikh Ahmad and his people were well aware of the activities of the oil prospectors in neighboring Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iraq - to say nothing of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company's successes in southern Iran. Kuwait’s expectations were raised by the oil discoveries in Bahrain in 1932, and Kuwaitis were hopeful that the surface deposits in their desert held underground reservoirs of a commodity which would be able to stimulate and revitalize their trade.

It wouldn’t be long before a technical report heralded a discovery that would turn the small, windswept desert land of Kuwait into a bustling modern welfare state within the space of a quarter of a century. All the remarkable modern buildings - schools, hospitals, office towers, commercial centers and housing developments which the State has used its new-found wealth to create have their origin in one simple, typewritten document titled: Report on the Geology and Oil Prospects of Kuwait Territory, dated June 1st, 1935.

Oil Concession

On December 23rd, 1934, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah signed a document that would greatly increase his country's wealth and international importance. On that day, the first Kuwaiti oil concession agreement was granted to Kuwait Oil Company Limited, which was formed by the Gulf Oil Corporation (presently Chevron Oil) and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (presently British Petroleum)

Oil Discovery

While drilling continued in Bahrain, attention turned to Burgan and to the recommendations about23-2-1938 First Oil Well at Burgan.jpg this area in the technical report of Cox and Rhoades. Geological surveys were carried out and the Company drilled in this area through 1937 and early 1938.

It was here, on February 22nd, 1938, that oil was discovered. Moreover, this oil was under such pressure and in such quantity that it blasted through the wellhead valve with such force that it could not be controlled. It was a gusher that was extremely difficult to contain. Lack of sufficient drilling mud to block the hole meant that other means had to be found to block the well, and found immediately. Donald Campbell, then Chief Accountant, finally located a 60 foot wooden pole in the town bazaar which served as a temporary stopper, which is how Burgan No. 1 was brought in at 11 a.m. on a rainy Thursday morning. Incredibly, this first well is still producing today.

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Kuwait Oil Company
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