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European Pupils

Gabriele Viglianisi
University of Catania, Catania, Italy

Review of
Concise History Of Azerbaijani Oil
by Miryusif Mirbabayev

Concise History of Azerbaijan Oil (Azerneshr, Baku, 340pp, 2009) is a

collection of 12 essays about the development of the oil industry in Azer-
baijan, which has been the centre of the oil business for years, being the
first place in which oil extraction and refining took place, as well as the
centre where many important technologies were developed.

The author is Miryusif Mirbabayev, doctor of Chemical Sciences and

professor at Azerbaijan Technical University. He has written various arti-
cles on the theme, and he is currently an expert on oil history in a group
working for the creation of an Oil Museum in Baku. Also, he is a member
of the editorial board of Azerbaijan Oil Industry magazine.

The 12 essays in the books are tightly linked

one to the other, yet they focus on different as- Ludvig Nobel in 1876, along
pects: The first three of them are about how even with his brother Robert,
ancient civilizations exploited the Oil richness of founded the Nobel Brothers
the region, and how then Baku became the core of Company, which became the
most important company in
Russian oil industry. The four following essays the field of oil refining in
Miryusif Mirbabayev
are about the great oil companies (e.g. Nobel Azerbaijan.
Brothers' one) that gave a precious contribute to the sector, both in entrepre-
neur and scientific field. Four more essays are about the great scientists involved in oil extraction, transpor-
tation and refining. The last essay is about Oil Rocks, the first working offshore oil platform in the world.

Included in the book, as a 75 pages appendix, we can find his work Brief Chronology of the history of
Azerbaijan Oil, that is, as the title says, a recollection of events in chronological order, each exhaustively cov-
ered. A review of Brief Chronology (also included) defines it the most authentic and truthful piece of work
which, according to literature specified at the end of the book, is based on archival documentary data.

This undoubtedly valuable book is intended for

people interested in the oil industry or in history of
Azerbaijan. I'm going to review the book from the
point of view of a curious university student; I found
this book enjoyable, as the various essays successful-
ly manage to tell the reader about the great compa-
nies in the oil business, the technical development of
the oil industry, and how great chemists and techni-
cians of the time were involved in it.

For example, there is one essay about Alfred No-

bel, the founder of the known Nobel Prize; another
about Mendeleyev, the great chemist who made the
periodic table, also deeply involved in Azerbai-
European Pupils
Concise History Of Azerbaijani Oil

jan's oil business. Also, I would like to mention

that in essay VI it was pointed out that all the
prizes of the Nobel family (Alfred’s, Ludwig’s
and Emmanuel’s) were awarded in areas from
which the scientific world was expecting the
greatest progress for the benefit of the mankind
and that all of them, especially the last two, were
created on the basis of the capital acquired from
Baku oil business.

Not less important are the essays about scientists

we never had the opportunity to hear of, but
Workers digging an oil well by hand at whom nevertheless made important inventions
Bibi-Eibat, Azerbaijan regarding the oil industry, some of which are still
in use nowadays.

In the text we can also find, within paragraphs in italic, very concise biographies of the named personali-
ties, which help ease the reading and complete the exposed ideas.
The book is well written, but reading feels a bit heavy, because of the vast number of names, dates, and
events it refers to; this surely makes the essays very valuable to anyone studying the subject; yet a reader
who has never heard about most of them would find them difficult to remember and to take in account,
therefore he might feel like missing part of the content.

Moreover, to those who are unacquainted with the geog-

raphy and history of Azerbaijan (although very little is
needed), the reading may require some efforts, especially in
the beginning of the book. Attached to the book there are two
little maps of the Caucasian region, pretty useless as they
are written in Russian characters.

Despite these difficulties, however, I think this book was a

good opportunity, for me (as maybe for any European reader),
to enlarge my views, as well as for finding out a number of
things about petroleum, Azerbaijan and Russia. The various es-
says treat, indeed, every event, work, or outstanding personality
in depth, showing that grand things (connected with our history The Petroleum Oil Wells at Baku
as petroleum is) took place in Azerbaijan. on the Caspian Sea

In conclusion, given enough interest and will to learn, Concise History of Azerbaijani Oil is surely an
interesting book.



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