King Ibn SaudClick here for more on Ibn Saud.

Though there was still a shortage of cash in Ibn Saud’s treasury the hope of an income from oil in the hope of an income from oil in the future had become far stronger. The concession which the King had given in July 1933 to the Standard Oil Company of California for the eastern part of the Kingdom resulted in the announcement to him by Mr. W.J. Lenahan on the 16th October, 1938 of the discovery of oil in commercial quantities and the sending away from Ras Tanura, on the eastern coast, of the first consignment of Saudi oil in May 1939. In this case Ibn Saud’s instinct had for once been wrong. He had never counted upon it and never until then believed in it. He had always asked that the geologists might search for water too, thinking that in the end it might be the more important result of their exploration. He was immensely relieved by the news brought to him by Bill Lenahan, the company’s representative in Jedda, and he cheerfully made the journey to Ras Tanura seven months later for despatch of the very first oil to leave his Kingdom.