THE HISTORY OF PARTEX
In 1928, the signature of the Red Line Agreement and the confirmation of the shareholding participations of the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) marked the consolidation of Calouste Gulbenkian’s firm involvement in the oil industry in the region. TPC then changed its name to Iraq Petroleum Company.
A decade later, in June 1938, Calouste Gulbenkian decided to incorporate his oil business assets in a Company he created in Panama: Participations and Explorations Corporation. The name of the Group – PARTEX – originates from the name of this Company. This was the company that managed his interests in the Middle East, namely a 75-year concession agreement signed in 1937 with the Oman authorities, followed in 1939 by a 75-year concession agreement with the Abu Dhabi authorities. Since then, Partex has actively supported the oil and gas developments in those countries through its participation in ADCO (now ADNOC Onshore), GASCO (now ADNOC Gas Processing), MUKHAIZNA, OLNG and PDO.
With Calouste Gulbenkian’s death in 1955, the Middle East oil industry and, as a consequence, the Group’s holdings changed significantly. As a result of the strategic decisions and business requirements of Partex, new companies have been created over the years. In March 1998, almost 60 years after the creation of the first company, a holding company was incorporated in the Cayman Islands – Partex Oil and Gas (Holdings) Corporation – owned entirely by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It became the holder of the Gulbenkian participations in the oil and gas business and the only shareholder of all the Group Companies, until Partex Holding BV was established in Amsterdam, in July 2013, as the parent company of the Partex Group.
On 4 November 2019 the ownership of the Partex Oil and Gas Group changed from its original shareholder, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, to PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP), an acquisition that will move Partex into a new strategy of growth. Today Partex is part of the PTTEP family and of the vision to expand business opportunities across several regions of the world, in particular in the Middle East.
The Red Line Agreement
On July 31st 1928, in the Belgian city of Ostende, the “Red Line” agreement was signed between the five shareholders of the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC), a company that Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian helped to create in 1911 and from which several companies were derived to run oil exploration within the territories that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire within the Middle East. The agreement regulates the positions of the TPC shareholders, D’Arcy Petroleum Company (presently BP), Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company (presently Shell), Compagnie Française des Pétroles (presently Total), Near East Development Corporation (a consortium of American companies) and Participations & Investments (a company created in 1927 by Calouste Gulbenkian).
The “Red Line” agreement, one of the oil history’s most significant milestones, represented the end of many years of negotiations, which were initiated soon after the creation of TPC. This agreement tried to articulate a complex game of many interests and intervenients, which kept evolving with the key geopolitical changes that were happening in Europe and the World. Calouste Gulbenkian, known as Mr. five percent, had a pivotal role in the drafting of the “Red Line” agreement.
Red Line Agreement