Film: 8102

Industry + Work | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Oil for the 20th Century

Narrated documentary about the history of British Petroleum: its beginnings from 1902 to the 1950's. Then BP was the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

Street scenes in London 1910s (very good). Motor cars. Trucks. People walking.

Man in a basement warehouse opens a folder with documents. Invoices, letters. Photo of William Knox D'Arcy 1901. Agreement of contract to find and sell petroleum throughout whole extent of the Persian empire except 5 northern provinces.

Desert hills, sand dunes. Steam boat in Persian river. Long thin boats. Palm trees. Buildings in Islamic design, arches, mosque. Market place. Busy street scenes. People in traditional clothes, woven caps, long tunics, at the market. Alley ways with merchants and donkeys. Hills. Sun. Men and donkeys crossing desert. River. Photo of G.B. Reynolds. Khaki suit, white shirt and tie. Camp-site in the desert. White tents.

Hand-written reports of status of exploration. Camels carrying burdens. Man taking water from a river and pouring it into a reed woven basket. Men digging a hole for the exploitation of oil. Oil rig put up. River scenes, desert.

Oil rig at work, men using equipment, machinery to drill for oil. Men looking at a type of microscope. Oil rig falling apart. Narrator says that the effort was called "The Syndicate" not the "Exploitation Company". "The cash and the patience back in London were running out."

Letter informing all syndicate members that "the operators of your syndicate have struck oil at 1,200 feet which rises intermittently 75 feet above the level of the ground." Smoke from oil field. Huge flames. British flag. Navy ships. Sailors on ships. Sailors carrying coal on ships to feed engine. Winston Churchill getting off a taxi. Head of Admiralty. Police watching. Churchill quote: "Any real naval supremacy must be based on oil."

Man working large pipe equipment with words: "Budenberg Gauge" and "Steel Tube". Fenced in area. Lots of Persian workers, barefoot, sticking sticks into the ground. Blasts Mules bring tools and screws by wagon. Rivers. Pipes had carried over hills an across desert plains. Truck pulling pipes. Oil pipeline across desert. Oil flame, smoke. Narrator says that this was 12 years from the initial contract signed in 1902. "It had all been a race against time".

Huge cannon firing. Scenes from World War I. British soldiers walking along a barbed wire fence. Soldiers on horses. Soldiers carrying injured men on stretchers. Ambulances, cars, tank run by petrol.

New buildings next to pipeline. Pipelines reached Abadan. Boilers and chimneys on shore of Shatelaah (?) river. Crude stills were refining oil. Tanker off-jetty. Pipes stacked one on top of another. Small rail track for locomotive. Persian men with head garb working equipment.

Nurses assisting a man put on a coat. Woman waiting in a motor car. Motor bike. Cr races, zeppelin, London double-decker, gas station.

1920's: expansion of Abadan. Police station, silent cinema. Regattas. Rail road track, locomotive, large tankers, pumping station and wide hose being used to pump tanker with oil.

Refineries in France. Oil refinery in South Wales. Dock, tankers, equipment. BP gas station. Passengers getting off a coach with the sign "Imperial Airways" on top. Airplanes of various sizes and shapes. "Imperial Airways" airplane.

1933: Evening Standard headline "Hitler Made Chancellor".

Document of new agreement between UK and Persian government dated 1933. Oil rigs in Persia. White men manning oil equipment, heavy machinery. Lots of boilers and chimneys at Abadan. Man with equipment that uses dynamite to blow up hills. Lots of data, photographs, papers analyzed by various people.

Document dated 1938 of new agreement to limit exploration of oil by UK to 100,000 square miles. New pipelines and oil rigs.

Scenes of World War II. Cannons, airplanes, tanks. Desert. Military equipment on fire, destroyed. Tanks, helmets. Ships burnt, sunk.

Narrator says that in 1941 "British troops marched through Abadan. Soldiers walk along pipeline to protect it. Machinery. Military equipment. Tanks. In "1946 a great Kuwait oil field came into production." Truck with sign "KUOCO 7061 W2262 KUWAIT". Oil field in Iraq. Pipeline from Kirkaq fields to the Mediterranean. Oil cars with "BP" stamp. Cars hoisted into tankers, boats with paddles used to load oil into tankers. Desert hills in the background. Road tankers across Europe, through snow. Meeting of men in London. Maps on table. Wooden panelling in room. British shipyards building supertankers and other ships. Men working at the shipyards. Chains. Tanker "British adventure" launched. Map of Persian Gulf.

Ispahan, Dizful, Ahwaz, Abadan, Baghdad. View of desert hills. Abadan refinery at night. "At one blow we lost our greatest source of supply and the largest refinery in the world." View of streets in Abadan. Men in suits, bikes, cars. Women in black traditional tunics. Little girls dancing, men in schools, hospitals. Palm trees, women pushing baby carriages. Tombstone in front of oil rig "Well No. 1. Commenced Jan. 23, 1908."

Hills dynamited. Lots of smoke and dust. New refineries being built in Aden (Yemen), Scotland, Glasgow, Grangemonier, Edinburgh, Kwinana. Map of new oil fields of exploration. Kuwaitis manning heavy equipment. Man using machine.

New pipelines and new storage tanks. Oil refineries, flames blowing off chimneys. Tankers in various seas. "British Sailor" tanker. Big waves on deck of tanker, going over tanker.

The Suez Canal. Tanker half sunk. Headlines of the Daily Mirror: "Petrol, 200 miles a month. Coupons ready at Post office tomorrow." Man selling petrol coupons. People waling. Man on bike, tight fitting black suit, black round hat and umbrella. "British Sovereign" tanker in the sea. Captain receives a message and reads it.

Jungle scene, large water fall. Man dressed in safari suit. Indians. Big earrings, head straps. Long canoes with motor, carrying people down the river in the jungle. People walking knee-deep in river. Local porters. Horses carrying oil explorers across snow, with ice mountain in the back. Mail bag. Distribution of mail aboard ship. Helicopter lands. Men working heavy machinery. Oil campsite in Canada. White tent. Man eating from metal dish. Cold gear on. Man with a pick hits rock and then hands sample piece of rock to native helper to carry. Divers obtaining samples of underwater rocks. Fish swimming by. Two men working together, one has the hammer the other holds the nail. Men walking through jungle river.

Pole with sign:
London 4,800 miles
NY 8,8_ _ miles
Rome 3,550 miles
Damascus 1,600 miles
San Francisco 13,100 miles
Calcutta 2,850 miles
Little Aden
City Limits

Labs. Scientists at labs. Teachers with children. Children in schools. Men working with drill. Man in computer lab.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 8102.