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Kuwait Oil Company
Kuwait Oil Company
Kuwait Oil Company's Responsibilities under the KPC's Umbrella involve the exploration, drilling and production of oil and gas within the State of Kuwait. The Company is also involved in the storage of crude oil and delivery to tankers for export

Faith in The Future  

In 1921, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah became the Ruler of Kuwait. A brave and resourceful 4 Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (1921-1950).jpgleader, a man of vision, Sheikh Ahmad was to steer his people through difficult times as the 1920s drew to a close. The cultured pearl industry became a serious, and ultimately overwhelming, competitor to Kuwait's main industry of pearl diving. In spite of this, and despite a worldwide decline in trade as the 1930s began, he kept his faith in the future. This was largely because of the existence of several strange black patches of a rough bituminous substance which had long been observed in different parts of the Kuwaiti desert. Sheikh Ahmad and his people were well aware of the activities of the oil prospectors in neighboring Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iraq - to say nothing of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company's successes in southern Iran. Kuwait’s expectations were raised by the oil discoveries in Bahrain in 1932, and Kuwaitis were hopeful that the surface deposits in their desert held underground reservoirs of a commodity which would be able to stimulate and revitalize their trade.

It wouldn’t be long before a technical report heralded a discovery that would turn the small, windswept desert land of Kuwait into a bustling modern welfare state within the space of a quarter of a century. All the remarkable modern buildings - schools, hospitals, office towers, commercial centers and housing developments which the State has used its new-found wealth to create have their origin in one simple, typewritten document titled: Report on the Geology and Oil Prospects of Kuwait Territory, dated June 1st, 1935.


Oil Concession

On December 23rd , 1934, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah signed a document that would greatly increase his country's wealth and international importance. On that day, the first Kuwaiti oil concession agreement was granted to Kuwait Oil Company Limited, which was formed by the Gulf Oil Corporation (presently Chevron Oil) and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (presently British Petroleum)


Oil Discovery

While drilling continued in Bahrain, attention turned to Burgan and to the recommendations about23-2-1938 First Oil Well at Burgan.jpg this area in the technical report of Cox and Rhoades. Geological surveys were carried out and the Company drilled in this area through 1937 and early 1938.

It was here, on February 22nd , 1938, that oil was discovered. Moreover, this oil was under such pressure and in such quantity that it blasted through the wellhead valve with such force that it could not be controlled. It was a gusher that was extremely difficult to contain. Lack of sufficient drilling mud to block the hole meant that other means had to be found to block the well, and found immediately. Donald Campbell, then Chief Accountant, finally located a 60 foot wooden pole in the town bazaar which served as a temporary stopper, which is how Burgan No. 1 was brought in at 11 a.m. on a rainy Thursday morning. Incredibly, this first well is still producing today.


The Silver Wheel

On June 30th , 1946, H.H. the late Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah turned a silver wheel to being1.jpg the process of Kuwait's first crude oil export aboard the tanker "British Fusilier".

The 30th of June, 1996 marks the 50th anniversary of exporting the first Kuwaiti oil shipment. This enabled the State of Kuwait to join the ranks of the world's major oil producers. At 7 o'clock in the morning of the 30th of June, 1946 a grand celebration was occasioned by exporting the first Kuwaiti oil shipment. The celebration, held under the auspices of the late Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber A-Sabah (then the Amir of Kuwait), was attended by the country's senior officials, the Political Resident in the Gulf area, the Political Agent in Kuwait and a distinguished audience of guests.

Mr. Southwell, Director of Kuwait Oil Company Ltd., London, started the event by receiving Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber A-Sabah and his companions and escorting them to the ceremony site, where the silver wheel had been placed to herald the occasion. Sheikh Ahmad turned the wheel to start the first Kuwaiti crude oil shipment flowing smoothly through an off-shore pipeline to the British tanker Fusilier. 10,567 tons of crude oil were loaded in 11 hours and 13 minutes, an average of 950 tons per hour.

In reply, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber A-Sabah said "Every one of my people and my friends will rejoice with me in this happy event, which by the Grace of God is for our future and welfare. I thank God for such an opportunity as this which will help us carry on with the various improvement which we desire for the happiness and welfare of the Kuwaiti people. I would like to further mention the assistance offered by the Company during their operations in our country. My thanks are also due to Her Majesty's Government for their help in making such operations a success, and to my personal friends the British and American members of the Board as well as to all the Company's staff for their valuable assistance. I am sure the friendship relation existing between us and the Company will continue to exist in a spirit of cordiality and good will."

Following the event was a ceremonial war dance (Al-'Ardha) in Kuwait city. At night, fireworks ended the activities of the occasion.



A new era of historic importance began on December 6th, 1975 with the nationalization of Kuwait's oil industry. In line with all the other Arab oil producing states, Kuwait began negotiations in the early 1970s to restore control over its own natural oil resources. By mutual agreements with the Company's two original partners, the State's shareholding in Kuwait Oil Company was increased progressively until full control was achieved. On March 5th, 1975, an agreement was signed by the State of Kuwait and the two oil companies (British Petroleum and Gulf) giving Kuwait complete control of its oil resources.
The development of Kuwait's early oil industry to its prominence in the world of oil today is of course due to the abundance of the God-given gift; however, much of it depended on the wise direction of Kuwait's rulers and the business acumen of the Kuwaiti people.


50th Anniversary 

On the 50th anniversary of the first shipment of crude oil from Kuwait, H.H. the late Amir Sheikh 50th Anniversary of Oil.jpgJaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah unveiled a memorial monument in Ahmadi on June 30th, 1996. The late Amir also turned a symbolic golden wheel in memory of the original ceremony.

  •  Gold and Silver Coins: On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of exporting the first oil shipment from the State of Kuwait and for participating in the celebration of this occasion, the Central Bank of Kuwait has issued two commemorative coins (gold and silver). Production ceiling has been limited to 1000 gold coins and 4500 silver coins.

  • Commemorative Stamps: The Ministry of Communications has issued three commemorative stamps in honor of the 50th Anniversary of exporting the first oil shipment from the State of Kuwait. The stamps are available in 25 fils, 100 fils, and 150 fils denominations. The stamps depict: "Two flags fly high in the sky representing a glorious past, a bright present and a promising future that fills us with hope and pride ... a tanker carrying welfare from the country of welfare ... a bird alighting proudly casting an examining look at the accomplishment achieved throughout the passing 50 years contemplating with hope the impact of his future steps on the oil journey which started when the late Sheikh Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah turned open the silver wheel to announce to commencement of exporting the first shipment of Kuwait crude oil on 30th June 1946".

  • KOC Dedicated Monuments: KOC has dedicated a memorial monument on the 50th anniversary of exporting Kuwait's first crude oil shipment.

Theme: The monument highlights the importance of the event in bringing together Kuwait's 2.jpgglorious past with its bright and promising future.

Design: The three ship's sails represent Kuwait's peoples' close link with the sea, peal diving and travel. The sails intersection represents the solidarity of the people.

Well head: The center well head represents the flourish of Kuwait's oil industry throughout the past 50 years and the role of oil in the progress of the country and the prosperity of its people. It also represents Kuwait Oil Company's role in administering and developing this industry.

The Golden Wheel: The golden wheel symbolizes the memory of exporting the first crude oil shipment.

The Globe: The globe is a reference to Kuwait's role in providing energy to the world through Kuwait Oil Company's efforts and activities as one of the world's largest oil producing companies.

KOC’s 75th Anniversary

To celebrate its anniversary of 75 years of operation, KOC planned a large event that took place sd2.jpgon December 22 – 24, 2009.
To commemorate the occasion, the entire city of Ahmadi was transformed with decorative lights and displays. The centerpiece and focal point of the attractions was a specially-built dome constructed within Ahmadi Stadium by the same company that built the dome platform at the Beijing Olympics in 2000. The size and scale of the three-day event was enormous and required months of advanced planning and preparation. In the end, KOC was able to host a successful celebration attended by the H.H. the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other distinguished guests.