Oil industry

From FIBIwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Oil wells in Burma began to be developed on an extensive scale after Upper Burma was annexed into British India in 1886.
A history of the Burmah Oil Company, Volume 1, 1886-1924 and Volume 2 1924-1966 by Thomas A B Corley published in 1983 and 1988 respectively, are available at the British Library

The 'Burmah Oil Company' was founded as the 'Rangoon Oil Company' in Glasgow in 1886 by John and David Cargill to develop oil fields in the Indian subcontinent with 'Finlay, Fleming & Co' of Rangoon as Managing Agent. Drilling began at Khodaung in 1887 and by the end of 1888 two wells had been drilled. A second field at Twingon was started in 1888. These were known collectively as the 'Magwe Oilfields' and the total production from them was 155 barrels a day from 281 wells by the end of the century. Refineries were built at Syriam and Dunnedaw, across the Pegu River from Rangoon, from April 1893 and completed by 1897 [1].


Oil had been discovered in 1866 by a Mr Goodenough of McKillop, Stewart & Co and a concession was granted November 1866, at Nahorpung about 30 miles (48 km) south east of Digboi. The Assam Railways and Trading Company (AR&TC) had found oil coming to the surface while constructing the Dibru-Sadiya Railway between Dibrugarh and Margherita in 1867 [2] and were granted a concession. At this time the AR&TC was more interested in the building of the railway and developing its collieries [3].

In 1889 oil was struck at Digboi by the AR&TC and they constructed the Digboi station on their Dibru-Sadiya Railway, in 1892 another strike was made and by 1893 the boundry of the company's land was agreed with the Government. A small refinery was built at Margherita. By 1893 there were six wells producing oil. In 1899 AR&TC promoted a new company Assam Oil Company, which was sold to Burmah Oil Company [3].

The Digboi Oil Refinery Railway was established in 1901 and is still in operation today.

Punjab now Pakistan

In 1866 some seven or eight holes were dug in and around the seepages near Fatehjang, 25 miles west of Islamabad, yielding a few gallons of oil per day Then, in 1870, B. S. Lyitaan, an American from Pennsylvania was hired to investigate the oil prospects of the Punjab. His report is of special interest to a meeting on Classic Petroleum Provinces, since its maps were probably the first ever published on which subsurface structure was delineated by contours. During the last quarter of the 19th Century there were sporadic attempts to drill shallow boreholes in the northern parts of the Central Fold Belt. This activity culminated in the drilling of thirteen wells at Kattan in the Marri Tribal Territory of northeast Baluchistan near oil seepages and from which 25 000 barrels of oil were produced between 1885 and 1892. The impetus for this drilling was to establish a convenient source of fuel for the railway system which the then Indian Government was constructing to help secure the Afghan/Indian border.

Immediately prior to World War I, various investment syndicates (mainly British financed) were formed to explore in the Punjab and it is from these origins that the first significant company was established on 1 December 1913 to acquire extensive exploration rights, the Attock Oil Company [4] Oil was discovered in 1915 at the Khaur oil-field which is 54 miles south-west of Rawalpindi in Campbellpur (now Attock) District. Production commenced in 1922 . Refining operations started at Morgah near Rawalpindi in 1922 also. The Attock Oil Company Limited (AOC) was incorporated in the UK.[5]

C 1926 there was ...”the European colony of the Attock Oil Company, eleven miles away [from Pindigheb]. There were about a dozen of them, including two American drillers. They had a pleasant little club...”[6]


  1. “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry YA03 page ....
  2. Wikipedia "Digboi"); Retrieved 5 Feb 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compliled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry AS90 pages 103-104
  4. Abstract of the article "Pakistan: a history of petroleum exploration and future potential" by P Dolan 1990
  5. Pakistan Essentials; Natural Gas and Oil nazariapak.info and Attock Refinery Limited (ARL) pacra.com
  6. Fifty years with the British, page 130, the Third Decade 1923-1932 by Santdas Khushiram Kirpalani 1993

External links

Historical books online