Oil: Historical Background and Aramco (2)

In 1923 (1341/42 AH), a New Zealander, Major Frank Holmes, acting on behalf of a British syndicate, the "Eastern and General", obtained the first Saudi Arabian oil concession from King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud), an exclusive concession to explore for oil and other minerals in an area of more than 30,000 square miles in the Eastern Region.

The concession, at a bargain price of 2,000 pounds sterling per annum to be paid in gold, came to nothing. The Eastern and General Syndicate were unable to persuade any oil company to invest sufficient funds for exploration and, after paying the 2,000 pounds sterling for two years, they ceased to fulfill their part of the agreement.

The King waited for three years and then, in 1928 (1346/47 AH), revoked the concession. From the viewpoint of Major Frank Holmes and his London-based syndicate, this episode must represent one of the world's greatest lost opportunities.

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