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Oil: Major Oil Companies in the Gulf Region

Compiled by Eric V. Thompson

Prepared with support from
The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences


State Companies:

The Bahrain National Oil Company (BANOCO), wholly owned by the Bahrain Government, and is the holding company for the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO)

Joint Ventures:

Bahrain National Gas Co. (Banagas) is owned 75% by the government of Bahrain, 12.5% by Caltex, and 12.5% by the Arab Petroleum Investment Corp.

Bahrain Aviation Fueling Co. (Bafco) is the aviation refueling service at Bahrain International Airport. It is owned by Banoco, 60%; Caltex 27%; BP, 13%

Original Concession Holders:

Bahrain Petroleum Co. Ltd., an equal partnership of Texas Oil Co. and Socal, also offshore concession granted to Continental Oil Co.

Continental Oil Co. of Bahrain, Continental Oil Co., Pure Oil Middle East Inc. (Union Oil of California)

Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement:

Harken Oil, of Grand Prairie, Texas, who is backed in part by Bass Enterprise Production Company of Fort Worth, Texas Harvard University, a major shareholder in Harken through an affiliate, and George W. Bush



State companies:

National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) - oil and gas exploration and production, refining and oil transportation; National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) – manages gathering, treatment, processing, transmission, distribution, and exports of gas and gas liquids; National Petrochemical Company (NPC) - handles petrochemical production, distribution, and exports.

Original Concession Holders:

Anglo Persian Oil Company, replaced in 1954 by Iranian Oil Participants Limited, a joint venture of British Petroleum, Jersey, Socony, Texaco and Socal, Gulf, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Iricon Agency Ltd., Richfield Oil Corp., Signal Oil and Gas, Aminoil, Sohio, Getty, Atlantic Oil, Tidewater Oil, San Jacinto Petroleum Corp., and CFP

Iran Pan American Oil Co., American International Oil Co. (Standard Oil of Indiana)

Iranian Offshore Petroleum Co., Tidewater Oil, Superior Oil, Sunray DX, Cities Service, Kerr-McGee, Atlantic Richfield, Skelly Oil

Lavan Petroleum Co., Atlantic Richfield, Murphy Oil, Sun Oil Co., Union Oil of California

Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement:





Recent Developments:

(Concluded at least negotiations with):

Elf Aquitaine

Japex, the state-owned Japanese Exploration and Production Co.,


Ultramar (Canada)

The U.S. Treasury has allowed two American companies (Chevron, Coastal) to import Iranian crude



State companies:

The Oil Ministry oversees the nationalized oil industry through the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC). Autonomous companies under INOC include: State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP) - design and engineering of upstream and downstream projects; Oil Exploration Company (OEC) - exploration; Northern Oil Company (NOC) and Southern Oil Company (SOC) - upstream activities in northern/central and southern Iraq, respectively; State Organization for Oil Marketing (SOMO) - crude oil sales and OPEC relations; Iraqi Oil Tankers Company (IOTC)

Original Concession Holders:

Iraq Petroleum Company (Mosul Oil Company and Basrah Oil Company), Royal Dutch/Shell, Anglo-Persian, CFP, Exxon, Mobil, Atlantic Richfield, Gulf Oil Corporation, Standard Oil of Indiana [Amoco], and Participations and Explorations Corp., under auspices of the Near East Development Company.

Recent Developments:

U.S. previously operating in Iraq include Haliburton, Howe-Baker Engineering Inc., Mobil Oil, and Pullman-Kellogg.

Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO), -- pending U.N. approval --is in discussions with: U.S. companies Coastal Corp., Phoenix, Chevron Corp. and Mobil Corp.

Iraq has current contracts with Coastal, Russian Sidanco and France's Total S.A.

The Oil Daily reports that Shell, BP, Chevron, and Coastal are among the companies interested in buying Iraqi crude



State Companies:

Subsidiaries of Kuwait Petroleum Corp. include: Kuwait Oil Co. (KOC), Kuwait National Petroleum Co., Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC), Kuwait Oil Tanker Co., Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. (Kufpec), and Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI, London)

Original Concession Holders:

Kuwait Oil Co. Ltd., subsidiary of BO (Kuwait) Ltd., and Gulf Kuwait Co., Kuwait Shell Development Co. Ltd., owned by Royal Dutch/Shell Group

For Kuwaiti portion of Neutral Zone:

Offshore: Arabian Oil Company Limited, Japan Petroleum Trading Co. Ltd.

Onshore: American Independent Oil Co., joint venture of Phillips Petroleum, Signal Oil and Gas, Ashland, J.S. Abercrombie, Sunray Mid-Continent Oil Co., Globe Oil and Refining Co., and Pauley Petroleum Inc.

Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement:

British Petroleum Co. Plc


Getty Oil Co.

Gulf Oil

Japan's Arabian Oil Co. (AOC)

Mobil Corp.

Royal Dutch/Shell,

Shell International Petroleum Co. Ltd.





State companies:

Petroleum Development Oman Ltd. (PDO) controls all oil resources. Oman Oil Company (OOC) is the overseas investment arm of the Ministry of Petroleum, until recently headquartered in Houston and headed by John Deuss

Joint Ventures:

Petroleum Development Oman Ltd. (PDO) controls all oil resources. PDO is a partnership between the Omani government (60%), Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd. (34%), Total-CFP (4%), and Partex (Oman) Corp. (2%)

CXO Ltd. Is a joint venture of Oman Oil Co. Ltd. and Caltex

Original Concession Holders:

Petroleum Development (Oman) Ltd., Shell Group, CFP, Participations and Explorations Corp., and John W. Mecom

Mecom-Pure-Conoco, John W. Mecom, Pure Oil, Continental Oil

Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement:

There are two American concessionaires: Occidental/Gulf and Amoco. Ashland Oil manages Oman's sole refinery, and U.S. firms lift Oman's crude.



State Companies:

The Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC)

Joint Ventures:

QGPC owns 65% of Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. (QatarGas) the rest of the interest is divided among France's Total SA. (10%), Mobil Qatar Gas Inc. (10%), Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (7.5%), and Marubeni Corp. (7.5%)

QatarGas Upstream, partners are Total, 20%, Mobil 10%, and Mitsui and Marubeni, 2.5 each

QGPC holds 66.5% of Ras Laffan LNG Co. (RasGas); Mobil 26.5 ; the Japanese companies Itochu Corp. and Nissho Iwai, respectively, 4% and 3%

Qatar Vinyl Co. (25.5% QGPC, 31.9% Qapco, 29.7% Norsk Hydro, and 12.9% Elf Atochem)

Qatar Fuel Additives Co. (50% QGPC, 20% Chinese Petroleum Corp., 15% Lee Chang Yung Chemical Industry Corp., and 15% International Octane Ltd.)

Original Concession Holders:

Continental Oil Co. of Qatar, Continental Oil Co., Pure Oil Middle East Inc. (Union Oil of California)

Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company, Shell

Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement:

ARCO Qatar Inc., (as operator for a consortium of Germany's Wintershall A.G. and Preussag A.G., British Gas Co., and Gulfstream Resources Canada Ltd. of Calgary)

Chevron Over-seas Petroleum (Qatar) Ltd. and its partner Magyar Olaj Gazi (MOL), the Hungarian Oil & Gas Co. Ltd.

Elf Petroleum Qatar.


Maersk Oil Qatar Co.


Methanex Corp. (Vancouver)


Mobil Oil Qatar

Mobil, MOL

Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd..

Pennzoil Qatar Oil Co.

Phillips Petroleum Co.

Royal Dutch Shell



Saudi Arabia:

State Companies:

Saudi Aramco



Petromin Lubricating Oil Refining Co. (Luberef), [Mobil Oil Corp. holds a minority interest in this company]

Petromin Lubricating Oil Co.,

Saudi Arabian Basic Industries (Sabic)

Original Concession Holders:

Arabian American Oil Company, Socal, Texas Oil, Jersey, Socony-Vacuum

For Saudi portion of Neutral Zone: Getty Oil Co., Japan Petroleum Trading Co.

Joint Ventures:

Star Enterprise (U.S.) ­ Saudi Refining Inc. (50%), Texaco (50%);

Ssangyong Oil Refining Co. (S. Korea) ­ Saudi Aramco (35%), Ssangyong (65%); Luberef - Mobil (30%) and Petrolube - Mobil (29%)

Samref, an export fuels company- Mobil is a 50% shareholder

Subsidiaries: Aramco Services Co. (Houston), Aramco Overseas Co. (Netherlands), Saudi Petroleum International Inc. (New York), Saudi Petroleum Overseas Ltd. (London/Tokyo)

Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement:





State Companies:

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has controlling interest in 21 domestic oil and natural gas companies.

Joint Ventures:

Abu Dhabi Co. for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) is held by ADNOC (60%) and a consortium comprising British Petroleum (BP) (9.5%), Shell (9.5%), Total (9.5%), Exxon (4.75%), Mobil (4.75%), and Partex (2%).

Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA­OPCO) is held by ADNOC (60%) and a consortium comprising BP (14.7%), Total (13.3%), and Japan's Jodco (12%).

Zakum Development Company (ZADCO) is operated by ADNOC (88%) and a consortium (12%) comprising BP, Jodco, and Total

Original Concession Holders:

Union Oil Co., venture of Union Oil Co. and Southern Natural Gas Co.

Abu Dhabi Marine Areas Ltd., BP, CFP, Continental

Dubai Marine Areas Ltd., Continental Oil, BP, CFP, Deutche Erdol AG, Sun Oil Co.

Phillips-AGIP-Aminoil, joint venture of Phillips, AGIP, and Aminoil

Major Foreign Oil Company Involvement:


Caltex Petroleum Corp.,

Miutsui & Co. Ltd.



Shell Gas BV


Sources: University of Virginia