The Third River
Aspects of Oil in the Middle East, 1887-1979
by Michael Quentin Morton
English and Arabic editions
Hardback, 424 pages, 104 photographs, maps
This is the account of an oil consortium, the Iraq Petroleum group, from its birth through its development across the
Middle East to its eventual demise. By the 1960s, the IPC group of companies controlled 20 per cent of the world's
oil reserves, producing oil from wells in Iraq, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, and exploring many other countries.
Based on personal accounts and his own research, the author tells a compelling story of the people and politics behind
one of the most powerful - and controversial - influences on the oil development of the region.
Among its achievements was a 555-mile
oil pipeline that carried oil from eastern Iraq to the Mediterranean coast. The oilmen called this pipeline ‘The Third
River’, a river of oil complementing the two great waterways of that country, the Tigris and Euphrates.
As such, it symbolised the group at the height of its powers, and provides the title of this book.
by the UAE National Archives in Abu Dhabi on 30 April 2014.
'With all the current turmoil in Iraq and Syria and present risks to their integrity, a close look at how these
national States came into being around 100 years ago is timely and instructive, to say the least. The author has produced
a volume which sets out the whole story... the underlying events which Morton so engagingly narrates are integral to a full
understanding of that volatile part of the world.' Julian Lush, Asian Affairs (2016),
vol. XLVII, no. II, 299-301.
For the full
review, click here.