[WORLDKINGS] Top 100 founders of the companies over 100-years and still in business – P93 - William Knox D'Arcy (United Kingdom): The tycoon founded Bp plc, the world multinational oil and gas company with 111 years of operation (1909)


(WorldKings.org) William Knox D’Arcy, (11 October 1849 – 1 May 1917), English businessman who was the principal founder of the Iranian oil industry. He was also the founder of Bp plc, a British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, one of the world's seven oil and gas "supermajors".

He was born in Newton Abbot, Devon, England and was the son of a solicitor. He attended Westminster School until 1866, when the family emigrated to Australia following his father's bankruptcy, settling in Rockhampton, Queensland. D'Arcy continued his studies and chose to follow the law, later joining his father's business. He did well and began to speculate, initially inland.



In 1882 he became a partner, with Walter Russell Hall and Thomas Skarratt Hall, in a syndicate with Thomas, Frederick and Edwin Morgan when they opened a mine on Ironstone Mountain (later renamed Mount Morgan), in Queensland, 24 miles (39 km) south of Rockhampton. There was a significant deposit at Mount Morgan Mine. In October 1886, the syndicate became the Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company, with D'Arcy a director and the largest shareholder. The company also worked a rich gold mine at Matakanui, Central Otago, New Zealand, through its subsidiary the Mount Morgan Sluicing Company.

In 1889, with a substantial fortune, D'Arcy and his family moved to England, where he bought the Stanmore Hall mansion, Bylaugh Park, and a house on Grosvenor Square.



In 1900, he agreed to fund a search for oil and minerals in Persia headed by Wolff, Ketabchee, and Cotte. Negotiations with the Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar began in 1901, and with the offer of £20,000 (£2.2 million today), for a sixty-year concession to explore for oil— later, the D'Arcy concession —was secured in May, covering 480,000 square miles (1,200,000 km2), and stipulated that D'Arcy would have the oil rights to the entire country except for five provinces in Northern Iran.

In exchange, the Iranian government was given 16% of the oil company's annual profits, an agreement that would haunt the Iranians up until the late 20th century. After the D'Arcy concession, the British became much more concerned with the stability of Iran because of their reliance on the country's vast oil reserves.



A drilling team under George B. Reynolds was sent to Chiah Surkh and drilling commenced at the end of 1902. Despite drilling a producer in January 1904, D'Arcy had already spent £160,000, and was overdrawn at Lloyds Bank by £177,000. D'Arcy was forced to find further financial support, and in 1905 the Concession Syndicate was established with Burmah Oil Company Ltd. as a major investor, and D'Arcy's operation a subsidiary. More importantly, operations moved to the Shardin region in 1906.

Drilling in southern Persia at Shardin continued until 1907, when the search was switched to Masjed Soleyman, in a place named Maydon-e-Naftune. Drilling began at one site in January 1908, and at another nearby in March. By April, with no success, the venture close to collapse, and D'Arcy almost bankrupt, he decided, with Burmah, to abandon exploration in Iran.



In early May 1908, they sent Reynolds a telegram stating that they had run out of money and ordering him to "cease work, dismiss the staff, dismantle anything worth the cost of transporting to the coast for re-shipment, and come home". Reynolds delayed following these orders and in a stroke of luck, struck oil at 1,180 feet (360 m) shortly after on 26 May 1908.

In April 1909, D'Arcy was appointed a director of the newly founded Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC), which would later become British Petroleum (BP). By 1911, APOC had run a pipeline from the find to a refinery at Abadan. In 1912, the Mount Morgan company was listed in London, and D'Arcy was made chairman of that board.

Later in life, he lived at Stanmore Hall, Middlesex. He died on 1 May 1917, aged 67.

According to en.wikipedia 


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