26 July 2021 - 13:54
  • News Code: 318995
Oil-Rich Aghajari, a Gem in Khuzestan

TEHRAN (Shana) -- Iran’s petroleum industry was born in Masjed Soleiman in southern Iran, but Khuzestan gradually as a whole became a focal point of oil industry in Iran and in the Middle East. Each and every spot in this province is filled with massive wealth that would guarantee the future of Iran.

National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), whose main activities are in Khuzestan Province, is a major oil producer in Iran.

In this edition, the history of Aghajari, another oil-rich city in Khuzestan is reviewed. Its name is intertwined with the city of Omidieh.

Aghajari is located further east in Khuzestan Province, more precisely between the cities of Behbahan and Omidieh. It is a clam and quiet city whose people are hospitable. Aghajari is an ancient area. The name of this city also incorporates a longtime history.

The name is the corrupted version of the Turkic aghach ari, ("woodman"), a reminder of the time when the now-Luri-speaking Boyer-Ahmadis, still living nearby, spoke a Turkic dialect, imparting one of their tribal names: (Aghachari) to the town. "aghach ari" now turns into (probably) "agac ari" which in Turkish language means "tree-bee".

Birth of Aghajari

In 1938, when the Pahlavi I dynasty was strengthening its rule in Iran, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) discovered the Aghajari oil field, thereby adding Iran’s unrivalled oil reserves. Britain was the main stakeholder in Iran’s rich oil reserves. Oil was used as proper feedstock for powering the marine fleet and military carriers of Allied forces. In those days, Germany was conquering Europe. In a bid to defeat the Axis, the British were looking for oil in Iran, more specifically in Khuzestan Province. Oil companies became so powerful to defeat Nazi giants and changed the history of the world following the Second World War. A strategic report field at the Center of Iran Petroleum Industry documents on the history of oil discovery in Aghajari puts it as follows: “Aghajari was one of the first regions where exploration for oil began after Masjed Soleiman. Drilling for oil and gas in Aghajari started one decade after Masjed Soleiman. Oil was first struck in Aghajari in 1938 from Well No. 1. Until 1950, with 16 wells drilled in that area, about half of Iran’s petroleum products was produced at the Aghajari oil field.”

Turn of Time

As it was said Aghajari owes its fame to oil. It shot to prominence in Khuzestan and Iran following the formation and development of the petroleum industry. In 20 Years After Petroleum Industry Nationalization, Fuad Rouhani puts it: “Until oil discovery and extraction, Aghajari was a village in the vicinity of the city of Behbahan in the 6th province. However, after identification and extraction of oil, it turned into a district in September 1946. The Aghajari district was split into two parts in December 1990, according to which Aghajari remained in the jurisdiction of Behbahan. But the district known as Omidieh was attached to Bandar Mahshahr. Finally in August 2013, Aghajari became a county.”

As said earlier, it could be argued that Aghajari’s contemporary history was influenced by the petroleum industry. The name of this city is inseparable from oil.

In The Economic Geography of Petroleum, Fathollah Sa’adat refers to the oil roots of Aghajari. “The city of Aghajari is one of the richest oil and gas reservoirs in Iran and even in the world. The Aghajari oil field, which lies 120km southeast of Ahvaz, is among the major oil fields in terms of wells drilled and also in terms of crude oil output. Oil exploration operations in Aghajari had started in 1926. It reached production after the third well was drilled in 1938. In the Aghajari oil field, before nationalization of the petroleum industry, 32 wells had been drilled, most of which were among the richest oil wells in Iran. Well No. 53 of Aghajari was the richest oil well in Iran. In 1956, half of Iran’s total oil output started in Aghajari. Oil production in Aghajari stood at 850,000 b/d in the 1960s. In March 1966, Aghajari joined record holders of oil extraction in the world.”

But one key point about Aghajari pertains to formation of its focal point which is connected to the petroleum industry. In The Geographical Culture of Villages, we read: “Aghajari is a newly established city whose background dates from the exploration of oil and gas reserves. After oil exploration and extraction, a settlement was established to accommodate service workers. Construction of airport and development of infrastructure added to the expansion of this primary core. Lack of sufficient housing and proper infrastructure in Aghajari triggered protests and strikes by petroleum industry workers.”

A Historical-Strategic Company

The Aghajari Oil and Gas Production Company, a subsidiary of National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), was established in the 1990s. But establishment of NISOC as the platform of petroleum industry activities in Aghajari has also an interesting story.

Here is the account provided by the official website of NISOC: “After one decade of fruitless effort and unproductive drilling in Dalaki Plain, Qeshm. Mamatin and Chia Sorkh, oil gush from Well No. 1 of Masjed Soleiman was the start of the petroleum industry in the Middle East. Oil-rich regions in southern Iran have since been the birthplace of the petroleum industry, the focal point of development of new technologies for oil and gas extraction and production. These developments became prominent particularly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and expropriation of foreign contractors and experts. Prior to the Islamic Revolution, oil-rich areas were run by Oil Services Company (OSCO) and Non-Industrial Services Company. Following the Islamic Revolution and the outbreak of imposed war, Directorate of South Oil Regions was established at NIOC to steer production operations in these areas. After the end of the war, the Directorate was renamed Directorate of Offshore Production to cover the entire country. Finally in 2000, the organizational structure of Directorate of South Oil Regions was reconsidered in line with Petroleum Ministry policies and plans for changes and developments. Then NISOC was established. It has 9 subsidiaries, including five oil and gas production companies and four service companies.”

Currently, five companies are under NISOC authority. They are Karoun Oil and Gas Production Company, Maroun Oil and Gas Production Company, Gachsaran Oil and Gas Production Company, Masjed Soleiman Oil and Gas Production Company and Aghajari Oil and Gas Production Company.

In conclusion, it might be interesting to note that Aghajari Oil and Gas Production Company runs eight oil and gas fields – Aghajari, Karanj, Paranj, Parsi, Ramshir, Paznan, Rag Sefid and Part of Maroun.

Courtesy of Iran Petroleum

News Code 318995

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