People | - France, United Arab Emirates

1951: Sheikh Zayed's first visit to Paris

2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the official birth of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan El Hor Al Nahyan. Its date of birth is uncertain but 1918 is the date that was chosen by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Zayed is the founder of the United Arab Emirates Federation, which he headed from 1971 until his death in 2004. He succeeded his brother Chakhbout bin Sultan Al Nahyane in 1966.

In 1951, Sheikh Zayed was then the brother of the emir Chakhbout. He accompanied the Abu Dhabi delegation to Paris for the arbitration decision between the Emirate and Petroleum Development Limited.

 

The case

Indeed, during the week of August, fraom 21 to 28, 1951, Baron Asquith of Bishopstone was in Paris to arbitrate between the Petroleum Development (Trucial Coast) Limited, a subsidiary of the IPC and the Emir of Abu Dhabi. Lord Asquith had been a judge at Lord's Chamber only since April . He intervened on behalf of the British crown because Abu Dhabi was under English protectorate. He was to judge the rights to dispose of offshore oil resources in the territorial waters of Abu Dhabi.

In 1939, Emir Shakbooth granted exclusive rights of exploration and drilling to Petroleum Development (Trucial Coast) Limited, a subsidiary of the IPC, in Abu Dhabi. Then the notion of "continental shelf" emerged. Emir Shakbooth considered that these territorial waters escaped the exclusive rights granted to Petroleum Development (Trucial Coast) Limited. He had planned to sell them to the Superior Oil Company of California. From the 1950s, oil-producing countries began to regain their rights, like Venezuela, which in 1950 obtained the equal sharing of profits with concessionary companies. The Paris meeting appeared in a new light, Abu Dhabi gained independence from the IPC which was composed equally of Shell, BP, NEDEC (Mobil and Esso) and the French Oil Company, plus 5% from Calouste Gulbenkian.

This visit was marked by the realization of a group portrait in the famous studio Harcourt. On the left we recognize the young Zayed posing, smiling next to the Emir.

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