William Knox D'Arcy was the founder of the first foreign oil company in the Middle East. Educated at Westminster in London, he moved to Australia in 1866, where he founded the Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company. He returned to England with his family in 1889. In 1900, he began financing oil exploration expeditions to Persia (modern-day Iraq), where oil was struck by his ventures in 1908. He founded the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) in 1909 and began exporting oil resources from Persia. D'Arcy's role in oil development in the Middle East is notable for two reasons. First, his ventures were the first oil exploitation operations that occurred in the most oil-rich region in the world. Second, he founded the world's largest oil company. APOC later became British Petroleum (BP), an oil giant that continues to develop petroleum resources and operations in countries worldwide and whose record profits in 2006 made it the largest global oil company as measured by production. D'Arcy became a wealthy man through his investments in the oil industry. He died in 1917.
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