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Brief chronology of Azerbaijan oil business till 1900

XIII century

Arabic historian Mohammed Bekran visits Absheron and informs about oil production wells dug in Balakhani.


The Venetian traveler Marco Polo (1254-1324) – the first European who visited Caucasus (Azerbaijan) – confirms oil exports from Baku to countries of Near East.


Hamdullah Kazvini has noted in his book “Nuzhatal-Kulub”: «The greatest oilfield is in Baku. Also there is a district where people dig the wells where oil came to light … and it is taken from those sources».


A stone dated 1594 and signed by Allahyar Mahammad Nurogly is found in an oil well (kolodets) 35m deep in Baku settlement Balakhani.


Adam Oleary Elshleger(1603-1671), a German diplomat and traveler, gave description of Baku oil wells.


Baku oil is marked as a ‘terrible weapon by ignition’ in a “List of gun stocks’ of Moscow state


Turkish traveler Evliya Chelebi examines and thoroughly describes Baku oil fields while in Baku. According to his data, Baku oil brought 7000 tumans of annual income to Shah’s treasury and was exported to Persia, Central Asia, Turkey and India.


Egelbert Kempfer, Secretary of the Swedish embassy in Persia, naturalist and traveler, visited Baku and describes oil sources on Absheron.


Peter I (1672-1725) issues special decrees about the order of oil extraction; in a letter to major-general Michael Matyushkin, who governed Baku, he demanded sending “one thousand poods of white oil or as much as possible, and to look for increase in production”. Persian campaign (1722-1723) of Peter I resulted in Baku and Derbent (on the East coast of Caspian) being annexed to Russia.


John Lerkh, an employee of Russian embassy in Persia, physician, visited Baku and described Absheron oil fields confirming that oil extraction started since times immemorial in Baku.


Academician I.V. Veytbreht publishes the treatise “About the oil”, which contains much data about Absheron oil.


Director of English-Russian trading company Ioannas Hanway investigated condition of Baku oilfields. In 1754 he published “Historical essay about English trade in Caspian Sea” in London.


Academician Samuil Gmelin (1745-1774) visits Baku and confirms that white oil was sublimated for production of kerosene in Surakhani and describes the technique of well’s oil production.


Count Marko Voynovich (1750-1807), the chief of the Caspian expedition, finds the signs of oil and gas on the bottom of the Caspian Sea near the island Zhiloy (Chilov). In 1781-1782 Voynovich M.I. charted a detailed map of Eastern part of the Caspian Sea.


Marshal von Frederick Bibershtein (1768-1826) notes that “the Absheron peninsula contains an inexhaustible stock of oil …”, especially in the province of Ghilan.


Haji Kasimbey Mansurbekov, for the first time in the world, begins sea oil extraction in Bibi-Heybat bay from two wells in 18m and 30m away from coast line. First offshore oil extraction was abandoned when strong storm destroyed the wells.


  1. All oil sources of Absheron, Guba and Salyan belonging to Baku khanate are requisitioned and declared state assets of Russia.
  2. By the time of the joining of the Baku khanate to Russia about 120 wells were placed in the Baku area; the annual extraction from these wells made up about 200 thousand poods of oil.


Official licensing of oil production and oil trading in Russia started.


The annual oil recovery on Absheron peninsula made 200-300 thousand poods.


A stone with an inscription: “The well was reconstructed 200 years ago” was found in Balakhani, in oil well known as Khalafi.


Traveler Edward Eihwald makes detailed descriptions of the quality of oil, oil wells and “eternal” fires in the Caucasus and Absheron. Later, in Stuttgart (1834) he publishes the book “Reise auf dem Kaspischen Meer und in den Kaukasus, unternommen in der Jahren 1825-26”. (“Journey to he Caspian Sea and the Caucasus undertaken in 1825-26”).


There are the 82 oil wells in Baku, giving 550 tons of oil in year.


By the invitation of army administration of the Black Sea Cossack army, Yusuf Amirbek ogli and Nabi Safi оgli, well-masters from Balakhani, leave for Yekaterinodar (Taman peninsula, Russia) to search for oil and to drill oil wells. By the decree of Tsar they were awarded with Silver medals “For their works and diligence, rendered at discovery of oil and the construction of wells”.


Director of the Baku oilfields Nikolay Voskoboynikov (1801-1860) invents special distiller for production of kerosene from white and black oils.


Nikolay Voskoboynikov’s oil refinery starts to operate in Balakhani becoming the first oil refinery in the world (the first similar factory in the USA was constructed by Samuel Cayer in 1855).


The steamship’s communication between Baku and Astrakhan (for transportation of kerosene in metal drums, with capacity up to 20 poods each), is opened.


The first well with 21m deep for exploration of oil is drilled in Baku, in Bibi-Heybat under the order of a member of Council of the Central administrative board of Transcaucasus territory Vasily Semyonov. For the first time oil exploration drilling in the world was carried out with a positive result. The work was done under the supervision of major Alekseev, Baku oil fields’ director.


8 – 14th of July, the governor-general of Caucasus, Count Michael Vorontsov in his documents officially confirms the fact of the completion of the first-ever in the world industrial oil well drilled on the coast of the Caspian Sea (Bibi-Heybat) [the statements collected by Caucasian Archaeographical Commission, 1885, v.10, document.No 1143, p. 145].


The examples of Russian (Azerbaijani) oil types with numbers: 32 – Black Oil from Shemakha province of Baku administrative unit, from Balakhani, Binagadi and Bibi-Heybat; and 33 – White Oil from Surakhani was first exhibited at the International exhibition in London, in “Chemical products” section on the 1st of May. The Russian delegation to the exhibition was headed by Caucasian governor-general, Count M.S. Vorontsov.


Academician Karl Bar (1792-1876) describes “an eruption of oil and gas” from the bottom of the Caspian Sea while in Baku and islands of Absheron’s archipelago,; noting, that white, and black oil comes out together with gas (he made one of the best descriptions of Caspian Sea “Kaspische Studien”).


  1. Joint-stock company “Caucasus and Mercury” – the largest navigation company in the Caspian Sea was founded on May, 21. The staff of the stock company was settled in St.-Petersburg and the Caspian department moved to Baku in December of 1859.
  2. French writer Alexander Dumas-father (1802-1870) together with an artist Jean Moan and a student of the Moscow University Calino had visited Absheron peninsula (Baku oil wells and temple of fire-worshippers “Atashgah” in Surakhani).


Vasily Kokorev (1817-1889), Peter Gubonin (1828-1892) and German baron N.E. Tornow constructed the first factory in Surakhani, near the temple of fire-worshippers, for production of kerosene from kir. In 1861 the first batch of kerosin was manufactured at this factory.


  1. Pharmacist from Tiflis, German N.I. Vitte constructed the second factory for manufacturing paraffin on island Pirallahi.
  2. The beginning of construction of Baku seaport.


Famous geologist, Academician Herman Wilhelm Abikh (1806-1886) visits Baku and Absheron archipelago, makes thorough description of Oil Rocks (Neftyaniye Kamni). He suggests connection between rocks of Absheron archipelage with that of Cheleken iseland.


V.E. Eikhler (1822-1891), chemist from Moscow University, works at Kokorev’s factory under the instruction of D.I. Mendeleyev and researches scientific methods of oil refining. Later, Mendeleyev named Eikhler “the veteran of Baku oil industry”.


  1. Javad Melikov from Baku designs and constructs an oil refinery for production of kerosene from crude oil in Baku.
  2. Dmitry Mendeleyev (1834-1907) visits Baku (in September) to work at Kokorev’s factory. Later Mendeleyev makes more trips to Baku to study oil characteristics: in May 1880, 1884 and again, in May and August 1886.
  3. Academician Abikh H.W. studies area of Oil Rocks and makes first geological map of Absheron in scale of 1:42000. Later, in 1895, in Vienna Abikh’s works on minerals of Caucasus and Absheron “Aus Kaukasischen Landern Reisebriefe”, volumes I -II were published, posthumously.


At Moscow exhibition of manufactured products “Transcaspian Trading Company” headed by Vasily Kokorev and Pyotr Gubonin received Silver Medal for a new lighting material “photonaphtil”, produced in Baku oil refinery in Surakhani.


The first oil tank for storage, measurement and supply of oil was constructed in the area of lake Boyuk- Shor (near Baku).


Mechanic K. Veizer used oil residue as fuel for the first time in Baku: he burnt it on a fire-grate.


  1. At the All-Russia manufactured goods exhibition in St.-Petersburg, the Baku refinery of V. Kokorev and
  2. Gubonin in Surakhani was noted with award “For an exhibition of 1870” – for preparation of lighting oils of rather high quality from the Caucasian oil, by extensive manufacture at a factory”.
  3. In Paris, chemist Sent-Cleve Devil leads one of the first serious researches of the physical and chemical nature Baku oils: has defined its elemental and fractional composition, heat conductivity and coefficient of expansion.


Vladimir Markovnikov (1837/8-1904) researches and discovers a new class of hydrocarbons – naphthenes; Markovnikov was awarded with Prize named after Professor Pavel Ilyenkov in 1880. Later, in 1900 Markovnikov was awarded with Gold medal for a complex research of the Caucasian and Absheron oils, by I-st International Petroleum Congress (August 16-28, Paris).


  1. In February, “The decree about oilfield development and excise from photogenic manufacture”, which put an end to licensing system in oil industry of Azerbaijan and Russia is issued.
  2. Oil and trading company “Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev” is founded.
  3. Baku holds first auctions on sale of oil-containing land plots and fields to individuals in December.


  1. The beginning of mass drilling of oil wells and abandonment of old wells.
  2. In June, in Balakhani the first powerful oil gusher Vermishevsky strikes, giving 90 million poods of oil within three months.
  3. Robert Nobel’s (the eldest of Nobel brothers) first visit on Absheron peninsula.
  4. The first oil barge of the world started operating in the Caspian Sea: the Astrakhan merchants – brothers Nikolay and Dmitry Artemyevs organize sea transportation of oil from Baku to Astrakhan with barges (bulk schooners) for the first time in the world.
  5. The beginning of construction of oil refining district in Baku, the Black City.


The Baku Oil Society (BOS), Russia’s first vertically-integrated company, was established on the basis of the Transcaucasian Trading Partnership. Among the founders of the BOS was the prominent industrialist Vasily Kokorev (1817-1889). The BOS was one of the first to drill a well on the Apsheron Peninsula, thereby developing the oil riches of the Balakhany-Sabunchi petroliferous formation.


  1. The beginning of active work of Nobel brothers: Robert (1829-1896), Ludwig (1831-1888) and Alfred (1833-1896) in Azerbaijani oil business.
  2. The beginning of industrial development of oil-fields in Baku settlements Sabunchi, Zabrat and Romany.
  3. Oil industrialist Victor Ragozin for the first time in the world starts production of lubricant oils. In 1878, the Baku lubricant oil is demonstrated abroad by him and quickly gains markets.
  4. “H.Z. Taghiev’s trading firm” becomes the first company to organize large-scale production of gasoline in their factory built in Bayil (Nobel Brothers starts to sell gasoline in 1880).
  5. On October, 14th on Absheron peninsula (in Balakhani), on a site belonging to firm “Souchastniki” (Participators), from depth of 96 meters, the powerful fountain of oil has struck with flow rate of 150 thousand poods per a day.


  1. Professor of Department of Chemistry at St. Petersburg Mining Institute, Konon Lisenko (1836-1903) arrives in Baku for detailed study of the causes of oil crisis of 1875. Later, in 1878 in St. Petersburg he published his monograph “Oil production – analyses based on original data” – one of the first original books on overall oil industry not only in Russia, but also in the whole world.
  2. The first use of deep pumps in Baku.
  3. First in the history of oil business (industry) Vladimir Shukhov has invented the steam-atomizing burner for an oil’s incineration (patent # 1880).


  1. Under Ludwig Nobel’s order the first oil tanker-steamship “Zoroaster” with steel outer layer was constructed in Motala-city (Sweden); the steamship was running on oil residue. “Zoroaster” had a metal hull of 56m long, 8.2m in width and its displacement was 2.7m; it was twin-screw tank truck with 19 metal reservoirs and it was designed to carry nearly 15 thousand poods (246 tons) of freight.
  2. The construction of an oil-pipeline between the oilfields in Sabunchi and the factories of Black City starts.
  3. Excise tax on production of kerosene from crude oil was abolished.
  4. Ludwig Nobel publishes an article “Overview of Baku petroleum industry and ideas about its future”, where he proposes general plan for the development of oil industry in Russia.
  5. D.I. Mendeleyev’s book “The oil industry in North-American State of Pennsylvania and in Caucasus” is published in St. Petersburg.
  6. The beginning of use of Baku lubricant oils in the Europe due to their better quality and cheapness. The first railway company to use Baku lubricant oils was the French company of the Western France Railways.
  7. In Baku, a branch of engineer Alexander Bari’s construction company was opened (its main offices were in Moscow). Vladimir Shukhov, a 25-years old promising engineer became chief-engineer of this branch.


  1. The first oil gusher in Bibi-Heybat. Later, little-known oil fields of H.Z. Taghiev and K. Zubalov located there became large enterprises.
  2. The engineers А.V. Bari and V.G. Shukhov have designed and built the first oil pipeline in Russia: Balakhani – Black City, which was 9 km long and 3 inches (about 77 mm) in diameter. The pipeline was built for the company of Nobel brothers.
  3. Oil industrial and trading firm “Caspian Partnership” is established by L. de Bouer (Debuer), S. Baghirov and A. Madatov.


  1. On March 24, the Baku Branch of the Imperial Russian Technical Society (BB IRTS), was established. It played a key role in advancement of Baku oil industry. The first chairman of BB IRTS became a mining engineer P.P. Semyannikov and a secretary – the technologist V.B. Abramovich. BB IRTS consisted of 122 members. (Fine building of BB IRTS is still intact in Baku on Nizami street, h.115).
  2. Second joint-stock company “Oil production company of Nobel Brothers” (or shortly – Nobel Brothers Co.) with capital assets of 3 million rubles is established.
  3. Second oil pipeline Balakhani – Black City, 12 km long and 3 inches (about 77 mm) in diameter comes into service. Till 1884 the Balakhani oilfields had 5ea of an oil pipelines with total capacity of over 200 thousand poods of oil per day (all oil pipelines were constructed under supervision of engineers – А.V. Bari and V.G. Shukhov).
  4. By the order of Baku Oil Society, tanker “Surakhani” with capacity of more than 300 thousand poods of kerosene is built at shipyard Crichton Yard (in Sweden).


  1. Chemist and technologist, discoverer and researcher of pyrolysis process, Alexander Letny (1848- 1883) arrives in Baku. In 1880-1882 he projects and builds the first large factory for manufacture of benzol and anthracene from oil residue by pyrolysis near Baku.
  2. On May, 1 a governmental decree on giving foreign citizen’s access to oil fields in Baku area is issued.
  3. On May, 29-30 Dmitry Mendeleyev together with his son Vladimir (1865-1898) visits H.Z. Taghiyev’s oil fields and take part in the opening of oil fountain, named in honor of Vladimir Mendeleyev.
  4. On June, 2 at the session of BB IRTS during report’s discussion «About kerosene’s means of production in Baku» Mendeleyev has suggested to build new factories in the central part of Russia for increase of the Baku oil sale.


  1. H.Z. Taghiyev’s daily political-literary newspaper “Caspian” starts being published (editor was Alimardanbey Topchibashev, a famous public figure and politician of Azerbaijan); the newspaper regularly discusses an oil business in Baku area. This newspaper has existed till March of 1919; on January of 2005 the newspaper “Caspian” has been restored.
  2. F.F. Beilshteyn (1838-1906) and A.A. Kurbatov (1851-1903) defined that in the Baku oil naphthenic hydrocarbons, which do not interact with bromine, prevail. After two years, this pioneering research was published in journal of Russian Physical and Chemical Society
  3. Nobel Brothers Co., for the first time in the world, starts to transport oil and oil products in labeled railway tanks.


  1. Continuous oil refining process, discovered by Dmitry Mendeleyev starts at refineries of Nobel Brothers Co.
  2. At the Moscow industrial and art exhibition, the Nobel Brothers Co. is awarded with the highest award – with the right to use image of the State Emblem of Russia on its products. The award announcement read: “the company is awarded for production of high quality kerosene and crude distillates for lubricant oils at industrial scale and most importantly, for the organization of storage and transportation of oil products…”.
  3. At the above-mentioned Moscow exhibition, Baku oilman Sidor Shibayev received a Gold Medal “for very high quality of lubricant oil, and also for the organization of the first factory of vitriolic oil and the first glass factory in Baku”.


“Villa Petrolea” with a magnificent park (nowadays, the park is known as Nizami Park) is opended on border of Black and White cities by Nobel Brothers Co. for its engineers and technical management staff in Baku. The wonderful private residence in Villa Petrolea was built by the Italian architect Borra (it was rebuilt in 2008). The park was designed by famous European specialist-gardener E. Bekler, who designed and developed many parks and gardens in Poland.


  1. The English traveler and writer Charles Marvin (1854-1890) visited the Baku oil fields; in 1883-1886 he wrote books “Region of eternal fire: Petroleum region of the Caspian” and “Baku is the petroleum of Europe” about the development of oil business on Absheron and in the Caucasus.
  2. On May, 16th Rothschild brothers (Alfonse and Edmond) found the company “Caspian – Black Sea oil-industrial and trading society” in Baku. Chief engineer in this company was David Landau – the father of the future Nobel Prize winner in physics (1962), Leo Landau. (L.D. Landau was born on January 22 in 1908 in the Baku settlement of Balakhani).
  3. Michael Ostrovsky, Russia’s Minister of State properties, and his brother, a well-known playwright Alexander Ostrovsky arrive in Baku (in September) to discuss problems– of oil industry in Baku area. About his trip in Baku A.N. Ostrovsky wrote in his diary “Journey on the Caucasus”.
  4. Movsumbey Khanlarov (1857-1921) defends his Doctoral thesis at Strasbourg University in Germany. Becoming the first Azerbaijan Doctor of Chemistry, he comes back to Baku and on the recommendations from D.I. Mendeleyev, N.A. Menshutkin and D.P. Konovalov starts to work in BB IRTS.
  5. The shell still battery for continuous distillation, based on Mendeleyev’s method, designed by V. G. Shukhov and I.I. Yelin starts operations at Baku refinery of Nobel Brothers (in the USA Mendeleyev’s method was first used in 1899).


  1. Establishment of a special organization of businessmen “Council of Baku oilmen” in Baku, headed by Ludwig Nobel until 1888. D.I. Mendeleyev took part in the first session of the organization.
  2. The foundation of oil partnership “S.M. Shibayev Sidor & Co”. The company was existed till 1898.
  3. Baku engineer-mechanic O.K. Lents designs a machine for cable (tool) drilling in which the (balance) beam is replaced with a drum. This method was the first automatic free-falling tool to be created at the Baku oil fields. In his design, Otto Lents was the first to include a thrust cage for turning the tool automatically.


  1. German chemist Carl Engler (1842-1925) visits Baku with the purpose of studying of the nature and origin of Absheron oil. Later, in 1888 he publishes his theory of organic origins of oil, which becomes a basis for all subsequent similar theories, as opposed to theories of mineral formation of oil (Mendeleyev and others).
  2. Engineer G.V. Alekseev, for the first time in the world, designs and constructs a permanent industrial unit in Baku for production of gasoline and kerosene by cracking oil tar (at S.M. Shibayev’s factory).
  3. A dissertation “Oil production and the current status of drilling on the Apsheron peninsula” by an engineer A. Vasilyev was published in the Russian “Mining Journal”.


  1. The first edition of periodical “Transactions (Works) of BB IRTS” which covered problems of Baku and the whole Russian oil industry is published.
  2. On January 11, Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev (1838-1924) speaks at a session of BB IRTS on “How to overcome oil industrial crisis?” in which he described most efficient export of kerosene from Baku. The report was very timely and useful, so it was published and distributed among all members of BB IRTS and Baku industrialists.
  3. In June oil tanker, steamship “Svet” Light delivers Baku kerosene from Batum to London (this vessel was built at a factory in Motala, in Sweden where earlier Nobel’s Zoroaster was built).
  4. Dmitry Mendeleyev makes a speech “About the measures promoting the further development of Baku oil industry” at a session of BB IRTS
  5. Mendeleyev’s book “Baku oil industry in 1886” published, in which results of his researches on oil from 1863 to 1886 are summarized.
  6. On December, 8th the First session of the Commission at the Ministry of Finance of the tax to oil has taken place. Mendeleyev took part in work of this commission as the chairman of the Baku exchange society and the Ministry of State property.


  1. Opening of oil industrial and trading firms “Russian standard” and “Naghiyev Musa”; latter, in the firm of “Naghiyev Musa”, Fatullabey Rustambekov (1867-1946) a famous engineer-technologist, member of BB IRTS, worked as a general manager from 1906 to 1919. Later, in 1923, F. Rustambekov is appointed as technical director of the largest Soviet oil industry association “Azneft”.
  2. In “Mining Journal” (v.1, p.18) Charles Marvin’s booklet “The Forthcoming production line of Russian oil” is published. He underlines that H.Z. Taghiyev was one of the first who received gasoline from Baku oil.


  1. Russian emperor Alexander III (1845-1894) with his family visits Baku on 8–9th of October. He visits the factory of Nobel Brothers Co. in Black City; oilfields of Rothschild’s Caspian–Black-Sea society and Shamsi Asadullayev’s oilfields in Balakhani and Sabunchi.
  2. Vladimir Shukhov discovers distillation tube, which allowed receiving target oil products with the target quality. In two years he receives patent # 9783 for this invention. In Baku the distillation tubes were put into use at refineries of the companies Nobel Brothers and Elrikh.
  3. On December, 31 it was received the privilege (patent) # 13200 on the device of oil continuous fractional distillation by design of F. Inchick and V. Shukhov. This device (apparatus) had a small volume and a large heating surface, and allowed to the maximum use the thermal energy. For the first time it was installed in Baku at the plants of S. Shibayev (1825-1888) and A. Rothshild (1825-1905).


  1. Russian Nobel Prize named after Ludwig Nobel and a Gold medal with his profile is introduced in St. Peterburg and awarded for the best research on metallurgy and in the oil industry. The prize established by IRTS, made up 1200 gold rubles, and cost of a medal was 1500 gold rubles. Ludwig Nobel’s Prize was awarded three times – in 1896, 1898 and 1905.
  2. The first integrated oil refinery of Sidor Shibayev was constructed in Baku using the design made by Vladimir Shukhov and Felix Inchick (with very little changes this factory worked for more than 40 years).


1 . Baku engineer K.G. Simchenko develops a project of a turbo-drill (the rotational down-hole hydraulic motor for rotary drilling). He receives patent for the invention after 5 years.

  1. For the first time in the world, Vladimir G. Shukhov and Sergey P. Gavrilov invent the tubular installation of the thermal cracking with continuous action (privilege/patent # 12926 in 1891).
  2. Marcus Samuel-junior (1853-1927), founder of powerful transport-trading company “Shell Transport and Trading Co.” visits Baku for the first time.


  1. On May, 4 during the meeting of BB IRTS Victor Ragozin delivers a report “The methods of oil treatment in connection with oil crisis”. Later, some suggestions in this report will be taken as a basis for oil distillate’s processing with the use of benzene steams.
  2. In June, Baku Technical Committee – a public institution with advisory functions is created. It was the first institution of this kind in the Russian empire.


  1. Engineer-chemist Konstantin Harichkov (1865-1921) arrives in Baku with the purpose of studying composition and chemical properties of Baku oil. Harichkov is the author of more than 100 original scientific works in chemistry and in oil chemistry.
  2. The commission under the chairmanship of an engineer Tsimmerman for working-out of the methods of the best oil utilization was created by BB IRTS. As a result – the commission has decided to require that the oilmen use the method of deep oil decomposition.
  3. On December, 22 the mining engineer from Baku Semyon Kvitko (1855-1917) is elected as a Chairman of BB IRTS.


  1. Opening of oil industrial companies “Asadullayev Shamsi” and “Russian-Caucasian oil society”.
  2. Cartel of Baku kerosene producers (the Union of Baku Kerosene Producers) is formed in St. Petersburg for exporting. In 1897, due to internal conflicts the cartel is disintegrated.
  3. By this time in Baku oil area there are 69 oil refineries, of which 13 have from 31 up to 100 employees, and 3 factories – more than 100 employees. The biggest refineries belonged to S.M. Shibayev (580 employees), А.D. Rothschild (227 employees) and H.Z. Taghiyev (126 employees).
  4. The first oil gusher of I.A. Ahverdov, Baku oilman was in Grozny. It marks the beginning of development of oil industry in Grozny oil-bearing area.
  5. Mining engineer A.M. Konshin upon his return from the USA publishes a book “Description of development of oil fields in Northern America and comparative conditions of oil production in the Caucasus” with appendix of 10 statistical tables and 12 sheets of geological maps and technical drawings. Significant superiority of American organizations in transportation of oil products was stressed in the book.


  1. The beginning of edition of a weekly journal “Baku provincial bulletin”, which covered among other issues oil industry in Baku. The magazine published the story of Russian Nobel Prizes (named in honor of Ludwig Nobel and Emmanuel Nobel).
  2. Formation of an oil company “Naftalan” in Yelizavetpol region; the company extracted about 15–17 thousand poods of medical treatment oil annually (after 1920 Yelizavetpol was renamed as Ganja).
  3. S.D. Yefimov at his refinery starts to receive cheap lubricant oils from alkaline waste in oil distillation. Later, he began to receive from alkaline waste “the soap oil” (named “Bakusin”) which was exported to Germany for producing cheap soaps.


1 I.A. Akhverdov builds and starts up the first large kerosene factory in Grozny. It was the beginning of industrial oil refining in Grozny oil-bearing region.

  1. Murtuza Mukhtarov’s Rig was awarded License # 1997-8. This rig designed by Mukhtarov and drilling master Gorchakov was one of the best domestically-produced drilling rig created at the Baku oil fields during the pre-Revolution period.


  1. Aleksey Stepanov (1866-1937), engineer-technologist, student and assistant of K.I. Lisenko, became the first winner of Russian Nobel (Ludwig’s) Prize for his research of “The basis of the theory of lamps’ combustion” (privilege/patent # 14791).
  2. Establishment of oil industrial and trading companies “I.A. Akhverdov” and “Caucasus”.
  3. At the All-Russia exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod Nobel Brothers Co. is again awarded with the State Emblem of Russian Empire.
  4. England, Turkey and Greece become the largest consumer of Baku kerosene after Russia.
  5. On October, 3 the mining engineer V. K. Zglenitsky (one of the first initiators of oil production from a seabed) applied to the Baku Mining Department for the license about carrying out drilling works in Bibi- Heybat bay; but the Caucasian Mining Department turned down his application.


  1. From the total oil production of 478 million within the borders of Russia, 458 million poods were produced in the Baku oil area only.
  2. Founders of English oil industrial company – J. Vishaw, E. Hubbard and others bought up oilfields of H.Z. Taghiyev.
  3. For the first time in the world, a twin-screw oil tanker “Assan Dadashev” started to navigate in the Caspian Sea.
  4. The beginning of oil railtanks’ use for oil exports from Baku.
  5. In Encyclopedia of F. A. Brockgaus and I. A. Efron (ST. Pt., v. XX A, p.941-942) in section “Oil” Dmitry Mendeleyev underlines significant contribution of Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev to development of the Russian (Baku) petroleum industry.
  6. Test of a compressor method (offered by V.G. Shukhov) in oil production in Baku.
  7. Baku engineer V.N. Delov has designed an electro-drill.


Construction of the world’s largest kerosene pipeline between Baku and Batum with total length of 829 versts is completed. The pipeline belonged to Tran-Caucasus railway. The construction cost of this pipeline was about 50 million rubles. Main author of the project was Professor of St.Petersburg institute of technology N.L. Schukin (1848-1924).


  1. The Rothschild brothers (Alfonse and Edmond) established a Trading-Transportation Society “Mazut” in Baku; by 1912, the Rothschilds’ Mazut had 13 oil tankers in the Caspian Sea, plus tows and other auxiliary ships.
  2. Doctor Vsevolod Baskakov became the second winner of Ludwig Nobel Prize for his work “Oil heating of apartment houses without an oil burner” (privelege/patent # 5336).
  3. In summer, American oil industry engineers (from Rockefeller’s trust “Standard Oil”) sduidied Shemakhy district near Baku and predicted industrial reserves of oil there. Later (in 1912), famous geologist
  4. Lebedev confirmed results of the Americans: he called attention to abounding outputs of oil near the river Pirsaat between Shemakhy city and railway station of Hajigabul.
  5. Russia became top oil producer in the world (95% of imperial oil production was given by Azerbaijani oilfields).
  6. On June, 4 in London was established the “Baku Society of Russian Oil” Co., which started its activity in Baku after three weeks from foundation. Total amount of oil produced by this company in 1914 was 5,14 million poods.


  1. On January 10, the first issue of a new specialized periodical, the newspaper “Neftyanoe Delo” (Oil Business) was published twice a month by Council of Congress of the Baku Oilmen (in 1908, the newspaper was transformed into a magazine). In May 1920, it was renamed into journal Azerbaijan Oil Industry, which is published till now.
  2. The largest oil company in Baku Nobel Brothers extracts 93.2 million poods of oil which makes up 17.7 % of all-Russian and 8,6 % of world oil production.
  1. The first stage of works on electrification of Baku oil fields is finished.
  2. Baku ship-owners gave orders for the construction of 6 iron tank barges in Scotland at a total cost of 800 thousand rubles. The barges were received in Baku for the beginning of navigation year in 1900, for transportation of oil and oil products from Bibi-Heybat to Black Sea.
  3. The member of BB IRTS, mining engineer Nikolay Lebedev (1863-1931) published in “Neftyanoye Delo” (issue # 1) his article “Mutual geological relations of the oil bearing areas of the Apsheron peninsula”.


Baku takes the first place in the world in terms of total oil production, supplying 11.5 million tons of oil per year, while the USA supplies 9.1 million tons.

Author: Doctor of Chemical Sciences, professor of the Azerbaijan Technical University Mir-Babayev Mir- Yusif Fazil ogly is well-known and experienced specialist in the area of oil chemistry and ecology. He was born in 1953, in Baku. He graduated from Chemical technology faculty of the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute named after M. Azizbekov in 1975. In 1986 he defended his PhD’s thesis on the speciality of “Oil chemistry”. In 1994 he defended his doctoral thesis. He is the author of more than 90 scientific works published in Azerbaijan and abroad (in Russia, Iran, Turkey, USA). He began to study the history of Azerbaijan oil business from 1992. His articles are published in magazines of “Azerbaijan oil industry”, “Chemistry and technology of fuels and oils” (Moscow), “Oil chemistry” (Moscow), “Territory of Neftegas” (Moscow), “Oil Gas Chemistry” (Moscow), “Azerbaijan International” (CA, California), “Horizon” (BP; London), “Caspian” (Baku & Astana) and others.
At the moment he is the expert of an oil history in the group of Oil museum’s creation in Baku and a member of editorial board of the magazine “Azerbaijan oil industry”.

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