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The Petroleum Production Company Nobel Brothers, Limited', or Branobel (short for братьев Нобель "brat'yev Nobel" — "Nobel Brothers" in Russian), was an oil company set up by Ludvig Nobel and Baron Peter von Bilderling, mainly in Baku, Azerbaijan but also in Cheleken, Turkmenistan.[1] Originally established by Robert Nobel (who contributed 25,000 rubles) and the investments of barons Peter von Bilderling (300,000 rubles) and Standertskjöld (150,000 rubles) as a distillery in 1876, it became, during the late 19th century, one of the largest oil companies in the world.


Robert Nobel already had experience of kerosene from the lamp and lamp oil warehouse Aurora in Finland. In Baku he would once again come into contact with oil. The photo shows samples of kerosene being taken in Baku.

The Nobel Brothers Petroleum Company was an oil-producing company that had its origins in a distillery, founded by Robert and Ludvig Nobel in Baku in 1876, which, in 1879, turned into a shareholding company headquartered in St. Petersburg. The share capital of three million rubles was divided as follows: 53,7% Ludwig Nobel, 31,0% Baron Peter von Bilderling, 4,7% I.J. Zabelskiv, 3,8% Alfred Nobel, 3,3% Robert Nobel, 1,7% au Baron Alexandre von Bilderling. Pipeline transport was pioneered near Baku by Vladimir Shukhov and the Branobel company in 1878-1880. On 10 April 1902, the company signed a contract for the purchase of oil fields in Romany, which were owned by the oil producer Isabey Hajinsky. On 17 October 1905, in accordance with the Committee of Ministers, the company purchased the oil fields owned by oil producer A. Adamov. The company's fixed capital in 1914–1917 was 30 million rubles. By 1916, it was the largest oil company in Russia, producing 76 million poods of oil.[citation needed]


Share of the Russian General Oil Corporation, issued 28. April 1918

In 1912, the Russian General Oil Corporation was founded in London as an English holding company and united some 20 of the most important Russian and foreign banks. These included:

By 1914, the fixed capital in oil was more than 120 million rubles. The Russian General Oil Corporation, buying a considerable number of shares in the Berlin Exchange, attempted to take control of Branobel. The move failed and by 1916 Emanuel Nobel had bought not only a considerable share in the Russian General Oil Corporation, but had also established control over other oil businesses in the region, such as Volga-Baku Company, A.I. Mantashev & Co., the Anglo-Russian Maximov Oil Company in London and G.M. Lianozov Sons, of which he personally owned a third.[2]

About 12% of the money left to establish the Nobel Prizes by Alfred Nobel came from his shares in the company; he was its largest individual investor.

The Russian Revolution and Branobel[edit]

On 28 April 1920, the Bolsheviks seized power in Baku and Branobel's oil business in Azerbaijan was nationalized. In May 1920, the Nobel family sold almost half the Branobel's shares in its possession to Standard Oil of New Jersey. At the time it was considered uncertain whether the Bolshevik regime would last and the negotiation led by Gustaf Nobel, on one side, and Walter C. Teagle, on the other, proved to be a profitable masterstroke for the Nobel family.[3]

Branobel was formally dissolved in 1959 and its last President was Nils Nobel-Oleinikoff, son of Marta Nobel-Oleinikoff and grandson of Ludvig Nobel.




  1. ^ Branobel celebrates it's 30th anniversary – but the Baku oil is running out
  2. ^ Tolf, Robert (1976): The Russian Rockefellers, Stanford, p. 188-190. ISBN 0-8179-6581-5
  3. ^ LeVine, Steve (2007): The Oil and the Glory Random House, p. 33-34. ISBN 978-0-375-50614-7
  • Tolf, Robert, The Russian Rockefellers (Stanford, 1976)
  • Yergin, Daniel (2003): The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, Free Press, p. 58. ISBN 0-671-79932-0
  • Åsbrink, Brita (2001): Ludvig Nobel: "Petroleum har en lysande framtid!" Wahlström & Widstrand, p. 19. ISBN 978-91-46-18181-1
  • Mir-Babayev M.F. The role of Azerbaijan in the World’s oil industry – “Oil-Industry History” (USA), 2011, v. 12, no. 1, p. 109-123.
  • Mir-Babayev M.F. and Atabeyli B. The unknown Nobel Prize in Baku - “Oil-Industry History” (USA), 2013, v. 14, no. 1, p. 117-124.

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