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Anglo-Persian Oil Company:
The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was founded in 1908 following the discovery of a large oil field in Masjed Soleiman, Iran. It was the first company using the oil reserves of the Middle East. APOC was renamed Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1935 and eventually became the British Petroleum Company (BP) in 1954, as one root of the BP Company today.
In 1901 William Knox D'Arcy, a millionaire London socialite, negotiated an oil concession with the Shah Mozzafar al-Din Shah Qajar of Persia. He assumed exclusive rights to prospect for oil for 60 years in a vast tract of territory including most of Iran. In exchange the Shah received £20,000, an equal amount in shares of D'Arcy's company, and a promise of 16% of future profits.
D'Arcy hired geologist George Bernard Reynolds to do the prospecting in the Iranian desert. Conditions were extremely harsh: "small pox raged, bandits and warlords ruled, water was all but unavailable, and temperatures often soared past 50°C [122°F]".After several years of prospecting, DArcy's fortune dwindled away and he was forced to sell most of his rights to a Glasgow-based syndicate, the Burmah Oil Company."
By 1908 having sunk more than £500,000 into their Persian venture and found no oil, D'Arcy and Burmah decided to abandon exploration in Iran. In early May 1908 they sent Reynolds a telegram telling him 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 shortly after on May 26, 1908.
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