Friday, November 30, 2007

Ludvig Nobel: Oil Pioneer

In the late 1800’s, oil exploration and discovery was still in its infancy. Immanuel Nobel owned a firearm factory in St. Petersburg, Russia and his second oldest son, Ludvig, was the manager. He and his brother Robert had received a large order from the tsar at the time, and Robert rushed to southern Russia to find the wood necessary to assemble the stocks for the upcoming order. While rummaging through the countryside looking for choice timber, Robert came upon something that would prove to be much, much more valuable: a naturally occurring oil seepage near the largest port in Azerbaijan, Baku.

Ludvig and his brother Robert wasted no time, and set up their own oil company, the Branobel (Nobel Brothers) Oil Company in 1876. There was not much in the way of oil refining technology at that time, so Ludvig set his great mind to the task of research and development. Ludvig developed his own methods of refining and set up refineries and pipelines in southern Russia. Ludvig employed dozens of gifted scientists who, under his tutelage, and in his labs, found new ways of treating the oil, new uses for oil, new petroleum based products, and ultimately how to market them for profit to consumers. At one point in the late 1800’s, Baku had become the center of the burgeoning oil business, producing 50% of the world’s oil.

Ludvig invented proper pipeline systems to bring his oil from the source to the refinery, and to the distribution centers he set up to deliver the product for use in Russia. Soon, however, Ludvig realized the real profit lie in his ability to export the oil in an efficient and safe manner. This is when he arrived at the idea of a ship; a large vessel that could carry his product across the Caspian Sea to ports desiring the petroleum for fuel and all its new uses. Ludvig invented what has grown in today’s supertankers. He and his brother Robert built the very first tanker ship, and after its success, assembled an entire fleet of such ships to carry their exported petroleum not only across the Caspian, but in fact, safely transverse the Atlantic as well.

Ludvig was also a humanitarian at heart. He became one of the first entrepreneurs to offer his employees a share of the profits; a very progressive idea at that time. His company not only made himself and his family immensely wealthy, the contributions made by his company to the well being of the port and the surrounding area included parks, schools, and other municipal improvements which have lasted long after his death. His indelible advancements still permeate southern Russia as oil exploration and export continues to thrive in the region today.

About the Author: Robert Jent is the president of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties. For more information, visit

No comments: