Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 22 Feb 2005 20:59

My understanding is that the biggest part of Iraqi and Iranian oil went to India and points east, especially as the war expanded in that direction.

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Bronsky
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Post by Bronsky » 20 Aug 2005 15:03

Saudi Arabia produced around .75 million barrels of oil per years 1940;1941;1942 and spiked in 1943 to 3 million barrels.

Egypt produced 800,000 barrels of oil in 1940; 1.1 million each year in 1941-1943

Iraq produced 4.5 million barrels in 1940; 3.75 million barrels in 1941; 4.6 million barrels in 1942; 5 million in 1943.

Iran(Persia) produced 8 million barrels in 1940; production averaged 8 million barrels in 1941, lower in first half and higher second half of the year; 1942 Oil production began the year at 10 million barrels on a yearly basis but averaged on a yearly basis 13.5 million barrels. 1943 began the year at 15 milllion barrels on a yearly basis and increased from then.

Regarding refining capacity, the Axis had unused capacity, both in Axis countries and in occupied countries (e.g. Holland, Belgium, France) which had been major prewar oil importers. The problem was getting the refining capacity where it mattered. For example in Iraq there was a pipeline to the Med but most of the Iranian oil went to Abadan and was refined there for used by the British armed forces. Needless to say, the installations would have been destroyed prior to Axis capture.

Then there are other problems, take the northern Iraqi oil fields. To extract and refine the oil, you need electricity. The power station was located near the oil fields, and burned oil. Say the Axis come near the oilfields: the British will sabotage the fields and destroy the power plant. All of a sudden, the Axis get a trickle of oil but if they want military-useful fuel, then they need to ship all the components for a power plant and then most of a refinery all the way to Iraq (or Iran and Basrah). The alternative is ship the raw oil to Europe, and ship it back refined to the Middle East. The Axis didn't have anywhere near the transport capacity to do that.

mezsat2
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Re:

Post by mezsat2 » 28 Feb 2016 15:11

DrG wrote:
JeffreyF wrote:Does anyone know about refinery capacity for the Axis nations? Or Italian and Albanian oil production?
Italian crude oil production of 1938 was only 13 t (in 1937: 14 t). During the war it didn't change much. No data are avaible for the few sintetic oil produced from bitumen.
Albanian production in 1938 was 126,820 t.
Almost without question Mussolini and Hitler were rolling tanks and sowing mines directly on top of vast oil reservoirs in Lybia for the purpose, in no small measure, of ultimately seizing oilfields in other regions.

Were even half the resources and manpower devoted to military conquest placed more shrewdly in say, oil exploration, drilling, and refining capability, events may have played out far differently. Indeed, a large motivation for prosecuting the war itself would be removed.

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stg 44
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Re: Re:

Post by stg 44 » 01 Mar 2016 19:16

mezsat2 wrote:
DrG wrote:
JeffreyF wrote:Does anyone know about refinery capacity for the Axis nations? Or Italian and Albanian oil production?
Italian crude oil production of 1938 was only 13 t (in 1937: 14 t). During the war it didn't change much. No data are avaible for the few sintetic oil produced from bitumen.
Albanian production in 1938 was 126,820 t.
Almost without question Mussolini and Hitler were rolling tanks and sowing mines directly on top of vast oil reservoirs in Lybia for the purpose, in no small measure, of ultimately seizing oilfields in other regions.

Were even half the resources and manpower devoted to military conquest placed more shrewdly in say, oil exploration, drilling, and refining capability, events may have played out far differently. Indeed, a large motivation for prosecuting the war itself would be removed.
They weren't operating on top of Libya oil, that was far to the south and deep in the earth. It would have been uneconomical to exploit with WW2 technology and very expensive to build up the necessary infrastructure to bring it to the ports to export:
Image

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Re: Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Post by mezsat2 » 08 Mar 2016 12:48

Certainly, the fields were south of military operations per this map. To say they were "far", especially in light of the distance to the fields Hitler coveted, is inaccurate.

As for expense, although I won't claim expertise in petroleum engineering, it's hard to see how fielding a large panzerarmee for the conquest of completely wrecked fields and infrastructure over a thousand miles away in the Caucasus could be more economical. Perhaps it simply wasn't technologically possible to develop such resources at that time, regardless of expense (like putting a man on the moon in 1940). I don't know.

GregSingh
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Re: Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Post by GregSingh » 08 Mar 2016 23:51

Well, it seems none of Libia's oilfields were discovered before 1950's.
Drilling before 1940 came up empty mostly because of inadequate geological surveys and lack of proper equipment.
If we become increasingly humble about how little we know, we may be more eager to search.

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stg 44
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Re: Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Post by stg 44 » 09 Mar 2016 21:23

mezsat2 wrote:Certainly, the fields were south of military operations per this map. To say they were "far", especially in light of the distance to the fields Hitler coveted, is inaccurate.

As for expense, although I won't claim expertise in petroleum engineering, it's hard to see how fielding a large panzerarmee for the conquest of completely wrecked fields and infrastructure over a thousand miles away in the Caucasus could be more economical. Perhaps it simply wasn't technologically possible to develop such resources at that time, regardless of expense (like putting a man on the moon in 1940). I don't know.
Far in terms of being in desolate wastelands with no existing infrastructure to get equipment to them, draw out the oil, or ship it back to the coast.

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tigre
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Re: Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Post by tigre » 21 Aug 2016 22:13

Hello to all :D; a little complement about this............................

Ranking oil Nations as 1940.

Out of the top ten countries in the ranking, five are located in America (two in North America and three in South America) including the 1st and 3rd producer; two (we can say) in Europe, including the 2nd and the 6th and three in Asia. We see the clear disadvantage of the Axis powers on this issue. Only the 6th producer was in the German sphere. Unfortunately for the Axis Libya was not among the producers during the Italian rule; the closest was Egypt.

Source: RML. Vol XXI. Nro 80. March 1941.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Brady
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Re: Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Post by Brady » 09 Aug 2019 22:46

Looking for a map of the working oil fields in Egypt in 1940-45

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DrG
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Re: Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Post by DrG » 14 Aug 2019 23:36

Brady wrote:
09 Aug 2019 22:46
Looking for a map of the working oil fields in Egypt in 1940-45
This site https://egyptoil-gas.com/features/more- ... r-journey/ does not provide a map, but it describes the locations of oil fields in Egypt. During WW2 the most important ones were in Ras Gharib and to a lesser extent in Hurghada, both on the Red Sea (on or near the Gulf of Suez).

Brady
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Re: Middle East Oil Production in WW2

Post by Brady » 15 Aug 2019 01:15

! TY :)

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