Gülbenkian, Calouste (1869–1955)

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A businessman, very adept in the oil sector, nicknamed "the King of Oil," and "Mister 5%," born in 1869 in Scutari, near Istanbul, and died in July 1955. Calouste Gülbenkian, a naturalized Englishman, was an engineer by education. He contributed to the merging of Royal Dutch, belonging to Henry Deterding, with Shell, of Marcus Samuel, while attempting to keep U.S. oil companies out of the Middle East. Gülbenkian used his Turkish connections to join the two corporations with Turkish Petroleum Company, in which he held a 5% interest. At the July 1928 oil conference in Oostend, Belgium, he traced the famous "Red Line" on a map of the Middle East, which delineated the former Ottoman oil-rich territories now controlled by Turkish Petroleum. In this zone, the different societies were supposed to exploit oil resources together, and to act in concert in case of the discovery of new deposits. On 27 September 1928, the first oil cartel was founded with the signature at Achnacarry, Scotland, of an accord on the oil trade between Royal Dutch Shell, Standard Oil of New Jersey, and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.