The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power

Daniel Yergin

Language: English

Pages: 928

ISBN: 1439110123

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Deemed "the best history of oil ever written" by Business Week and with more than 300,000 copies in print, Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning account of the global pursuit of oil, money, and power has been extensively updated to address the current energy crisis.

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Like Rocke­ feller with the railroads, Samuel understood the absolute need to master trans­ portation costs. The type of tanker then in operation simply would not do. 65 Samuel needed a new, larger, technologically more advanced type of tanker, and he commissioned the design and construction of such ships. He needed guaranteed supplies of kerosene from Batum, in sufficient volume and priced to reflect the savings gained by not having to tin the kerosene. He needed access to the Suez Canal, which would cut the voyage by four thousand miles, pulling costs down further and increasing his competitive advantage against Standard, whose oil traveled to the Far East on sailing ships around the Cape of Good Hope.

The door to global trade was opened, and American oil quickly won markets through­ out the world. People everywhere would begin to enjoy the benefits of kerosene. So, virtually from the very beginning, petroleum was an international business. The American oil industry could not have grown to the size it did and become what it was without its foreign markets. In Europe, the rapid increase in the demand for American oil products was stimulated by industrialization, economic growth, and urbanization, and by a shortage of fats and oils that had afflicted Continental Europe for more than a generation.

Horses were still the basis of planning at the outbreak of the war—one horse for every three soldiers. Moreover, the reliance on horses greatly com­ plicated the problems of supply, for each horse required ten times as much food as each man. At the beginning of the war, at the First Battle of the Marne, one German general cursed that he did not have a single horse that was not too exhausted to drag itself forward across the battlefield. By the end of the war, whole nations would lie exhausted; for the oil-powered engine, while simplifying the problems of mobility and supply, also multiplied the devastation.

Mellon "greatly admired the Park," Samuel wrote in his diary of August 18,1903. The next day, Samuel added to his diary, "Went to London by the 9:27 train upon important business. . . . Had very busy day in negotiating with Mr. Mellon to try to avoid legal proceedings with Guffey Co. but did not succeed in reaching a modus vivendi and subsequently consulted solicitors. " Andrew Mellon was courteous, charming, mild in manner, but persistent and absolutely firm. By the beginning of September, the two sides did reach a modus vivendi, a new agreement.

Samuel dispatched his brother-in-law to the New World—to New York, then to Pittsburgh, then to Beaumont—to seek a contract with the un­ known Guffey. The negotiations were hastily pursued. Shell made no inde­ pendent geological evaluation; it did not even bother to hire an American lawyer to review the eventual contract. At one point, the brother-in-law had to scurry around to buy a wall map of the world to explain to Guffey Shell's activities elsewhere in the world. After his tour and discussions with Guffey, the brotherin-law felt confident in reassuring Samuel, back in London, on a crucial point— 86 that "there is no likelihood of failure of supplies.

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