The Consortium Agreement Of 1954

Under pressure from the United States, British Petroleum was forced to accept membership in a consortium of companies that would return Iranian oil to the international market. It was established in 1954 in London as a holding company called Iranian Oil Participants Ltd (IOP). Like the Saudi Aramco „50/50“ deal of 1950, the consortium agreed to share profits with Iran on a 50-50 basis, „but not to open its books to Iranian listeners or let Iranians into its board of directors.“ The negotiations that led to the creation of the consortium in 1954-55 were considered a feat of skilful diplomacy for the „Seven Sisters“. Some saw the move as a step to quell rising Iranian tensions, as it allowed the IOP to easily divert and conceal profits – effectively control Iran`s share of profits. Over the past year, Iran has been put under pressure by orders from international buyers, but the Shah said the consortium had not increased production. A year after the fall of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, Iran`s new government has concluded its predecessor`s negotiations with Britain over the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (BP). The dispute ended with the creation of an international oil consortium that reduced BP`s share to 40%. Iran`s oil industry was nationalized in 1951. Under an agreement reached in 1954, the Western consortium operates the sector for half of its profits.

The consortium members are British Petroleum, Shell, Exxon, Mobil, Standard Oil of California, Texaco, Gulf, Compagnie Frangaise des Petroles and a small group of American independents named Iricon.