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Oil magnates in Azerbaijan


Azerbaijan oil magnates played especially positive role in the development of oil work in Azerbaijan and whole Russia. We should note great services of Hadji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev (1838-1924), Musa Nagiyev (1842-1919), Shamsi Asadullayev (1840-1913), Ejderbekh Ashurbekov (1855-1921), Isabekh Hadjinski (1861-1919), Murtuza Mukhtarov in the late XIX – early XX century, several famous foreign companies (Nobel Brothers, the Rothschilds, Mantashev, Shibayev and Unanov) operated in Baku. Nobel and Rothschild Brothers’ companies were more famous among them.

Hadji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev
Here is one of the most famous and respectable oil magnates of all Muslim world and Russia. He was born in a poor family, passed an honorable way from a simple mason to a millionaire businessman. “H.Z.Tagiyev” firm established in 1875 became a powerful oil industry association and connected all fields of oil business in the course of 25 years. Tagiyev invested to all fields of national economy: oil production, construction of trade centers and flour grinding factories, fishing, etc. H.Z.Tagiyev established “Caucasus Joint-stock Community on the procession of fibrous materials” in 1897. In 1914 he founded Baku Commersion Bank to conduct trade operations with other local entrepreneurs and was elected representative of the bank’s adminstrative stoff. In 1916, Tagiyev founded “Tagiyev Fishing Industry Joint-Stock Company” that operated in Azerbaijan and Dagestan.

Musa Nagiyev
Musa Nagiyev is a famous oil magnate. He was born in a very poor family and became a millionaire with the help of his acute mind and competence. In 1915-1916, if Tagiyes’s capital was equal to 6 million rubles, M.Nagiyev’s capital was several times more than that.
M.Nagiyev allocated a great amount of money to the foundation of partnership on the draining of Bibi-Heybet Bay, and to the conduct of construction works for the draining that was carried out fast enough (in 1917, 70% of the project works were completed).

Shemsi Esedullayev
He was a renowned oil magnate and respectful businessman not only in Baku, but beyond its lenuts as well. Shemsi became a millionaire with the help of oil boom, his own mind and competence. In 1893, he founded “Shemsi Esedullayev” oil production firm with 500 rubles, in 1913, the capital of his firm was already 10 million rubles. Esedullayev’s marine ships traveled in the Caspian and Volga; Shemsi only compromised to the Nobel firm on the tonnage of ships for the transportation of oil and oil products. So, after Nobel’s “Zoroaster” ship appeared in the Caspian, Esedullayev bought 3 tankers called “3 A” – Asia, Africa and America. The total length of oil pipelines in Nobel firm was 17 versts, in Sh.Esedullayev 12.5 versts in 1907. He opened representation in Russia, Turkey, Iran and several European countries.

Ejderbekh Ashurbekov
He is an oil magnate, a brilliant representative of Ashurbekovs dynasty in Baku. Due to his intellect respect and great wealth, he was a very respectful person among well-known people of the country and Russia. In October 1888, Ashurbekov was among those who greeted Emperor Alexander III in Baku. In the late XIX century, Ashurbekov was engaged with oil: in 1893, the oil gusher in one of his wells in Surakhane made Ejder bekh a millionaire. Later he bought 5 new wells. Two of them he managed himself, the remaining three on character: two wells he rented out to “Nobel Brothers” company, one to “S.M.Shibayev” company. Like the other oil magnates, E.Ashurbekhov also played an important role in the economic, social and cultural development of Baku until the revolution.

Murtuza Mukhtarov 
He is an oil magnate who was born in a poor family, and passed a difficult way from being a worker, then a team leader, and finally to the owner of a firm. He became wealthy with the help of oil as other Baku millionaires, but modern technology and equipment for oil production is connected with his name. Without any special education, he was a compenent discoverer who learned by himself discovered a drilling equipment called “Mukhtarov”. It was famous in the world, and exported to a number of countries (Besides “Murtuza Mukhtarov” company, “Molot”, “Rapid”, “Votan”, and “Robur” companies may be included to the large companies of the drilling contracter and mechanical workshops of Russia as well).

Nobel Brothers
The establishment of “Nobel Brothers oil production partnership” firm (“Nobel Brothers” firm) falls on May 18, 1879, but the Swedish family began working in Absheron earlier than this date (In 1879, “Nobel Brothers oil production joint-stock company with “Brabonel” telegraph title was founded by Emperor Alexander II).
In 1873, elder brother Robert Nobel (1829-1896) came to the Caucasus on the assignment of wood purchase for the rifle stocks bought from the middle brother Ludwiq (1831-1888). After analyzing “oil” conditions in Absheron peninsula, he invested his capital to the oil sector. This was of course a venture, but he had some experience on the organization of kerosene in Finland. He thought that, oil business had great perspectives, for the Russian market was full of import (American) oil products.
Beginning from 1875, Nobel Brothers took an active part in Azerbaijan oil industry. In its first year main capital of the firm, the founders of which were Robert, Ludwiq and Alfred (1833-1896) Nobel and others, was equal to 3 million rubles. The Brothers supervised all processes in the firm from defining the oil field to the sale of final oil products.
Only in 1894, “Nobel Brothers” company purchased up to 10 million poods of oil on the basis of 21 contracts. Due to these works, L.Nobel became a real “Black oil King” of Russia in the late XX century.
As a result, the activities of “Nobel Brothers” in Baku gave an impulse to the rapid development of all areas of oil industry in Russia. Baku oil region was a foundation for the Nobels marvelous building later called “oil empire”.
In 1900, “Nobel Brothers” firm and Rothschild’s “Caspian Black Sea Company” realized 21% of oil production and 40% of oil export from Baku. In those years, if the greatest 6 oil processing plants processed 44%kerosene, only “Nobel Brothers” company possessed more than 22% of it.
“Nobel Brothers” company had main capital equal to 30 million rubles, more than 13 plant (6 oil processing plants as well) in 1914-1917. Their total oil production was 76 million poods in 1916.
These, main part of material resources of Nobel prize – currently the worthiest prize in the world – is based upon the capital gained from Baku Oil.

Rothschild brothers
Rothschild brothers, who were co-owners of Banking House in Paris were interested in Russian oil fields in the late 70s of the XIX century. However, only on May 16, 1883 on the basis of Batumi oil industry and trade company that went bankrupt, a new firm – “Caspian – Black Sea oil industry and trade company” (hereinafter called “Caspian – Black Sea Company”) was established in Baku. Since the date of foundation, the company rapidly developed  by purchasing kerosene from 135 small and medium-sizeв enterprises to export to the inner regions of Russia and the foreign countries. In addition, the Rothschilds signed compromised agreements with some companies on the commercial sales of kerosene and it led to the following: if in 1884, the amount of product carried to the foreign countries from Baku by the company was 2.4 million poods, in 5 years, this figure reached nearly to 30 million poods. “Fergusson” steamer that carried kerosene from Baku to Antverpen played the role of cornerstone for the Rothschilds’ becoming famous; later kerosene was even exported to London (“Fergusson” ship was built in the plant in Motala city, Sweden; earlier, “Zoroaster” ship of Nobels was built in this plant).
To note, the Rothschilds began to work with a special activeness with the initial capital of 6 million gold coin and 25 million Franks in the Russian safes.
“Caspian – Black Sea Company” had to be thankful to Rothschild’s’ (earlier Nobels’) contacts with the top authorities of Russia for the success it gained. Together with the “Nobel Brothers” Company, Rothschild’s’ “Caspian – Black Sea Company” became one of the leading oil firms in Russia.
It is worth to noting that Rothschilds’ “Caspian – Black Sea Company” placed 300 carriage – tanks by getting permission to place special carriage-tanks that were not enough for meeting the explicitly required number of transportation means (600 units) in the South Caucasus railways; moreover, the company gave credits (2 million rubles) to a number of plant owners for installing more than 1500 carriage-tank provided that 6% of the debt given for 5 years term would be paid per year.
As a result the Rothschild’s’ firm received 1800 out of 3932 carriages of kerosene sent to Baku in December 1888.

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