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George Bernard Reynolds

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George Bernard Reynolds (1853-1925)

1853 Born son of Commander George Stewart Reynolds RN and his wife, Eliza Susannah; a British subject by birth.

Graduated from the Royal Indian Engineering College.

1875 Posted to the Indian railways

19891 Assistant Manager, Wardha Coal State Railway, Warora, Central Provinces, India.

Some time before 1895 he married Lavinia Jane.

1897 Retired from the Indian public works department

Worked for the Royal Dutch Oil Company in the Sumatra oilfields.

1901 Engaged by William Knox D'Arcy as field engineer for his oil exploration in Persia.

After several years of unsuccessful exploration, the venture struck oil in 1908.

Reynolds resented the business structure that his employers were planning for Persia, and refused to co-operate, and deliberately withheld urgently needed information.

1911 Reynolds was recalled and dismissed, with a golden handshake of £1000.

Recruited by Sir Henri Deterding to work for the Royal Dutch–Shell petroleum group in Venezuela. There he surveyed a potential oil site near Lake Maracaibo on the country's northern coast.

By 1914 oil was being produced commercially.

1922 Reynolds made his second huge find of oil, in the La Rosa field, and presumably etired shortly afterwards.

1925 Once back in Britain, Reynolds was asked by the directors of Anglo-Persian Oil Co to travel to Persia on a courtesy visit. Before he could take up this invitation, however, he died suddenly at the Hotel de Inglaterra, Seville.


1915 Indian Biographical Dictionary

Reynolds, George Bernard, M.I.C.E.;., M.I.M.E., M.I.S.I., Indian P.W.D, (retired); joined service and was posted to State Railway Branch, 1875; transferred to Loco. Department, 1879-91; appointed as Executive Engineer and Manager. Warora Colliery, 1891; retired, 1897.


1925 Obituary [1]

GEORGE BERNARD REYNOLDS was born in 1853.

He served his apprenticeship in the works of the Avonside Engine Co., Bristol, and then passed into the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper's Hill.

In 1875 he went to India as assistant engineer, being appointed to the Scindia State Railway. There he had charge of the first section of the line, 35 miles long, from Agra to Dholipur, and on its completion he was transferred to Vermeer in the Rajputana State Railways to superintend the erection of machinery in the shops.

Retiring from the Public Works Department at a comparatively early age, he turned his attention to petroleum, and his first oilfield development work was in the Island of Madoura, off Sourabaya, Java.

Going on to Persia as General Manager for the Darcy Exploration Syndicate, he spent several years on drilling operations under great difficulties, chiefly due to the hostility of the natives, which, by tactful handling, he was able to surmount.

The formation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. followed quickly on the successful results of the first wells. Mr. Reynolds afterwards turned his attention to Venezuela, where his efforts on behalf of the Venezuelan Oil Concessions, Ltd., were amply rewarded.

At a later date he joined the technical staff of the British Controlled Oil Co., and was actively engaged in pioneer work up to the time of his death, which took place at Seville, Spain, on 23rd February 1925.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1879.


1925 Obituary [2]

GEORGE BERNARD REYNOLDS was born in 1853.

He was educated at the Royal Indian Civil College, Coopers Hill, and was one of the first to graduate from that establishment.

In 1875 he joined the Public Works Department (Railways) in India. During his work there it became necessary to develop a coal-mine at the end of a bra cell line of which he had charge, and this resulted in his being put in charge of the mine also. Becoming interested in mining, he took the opportunity of a long leave to study the subject and to obtain a colliery Manager's certificate; and thus, on his return to India, he was enabled to devote his energies to coal-mining.

It was not until he retired at a comparatively early age from the Indian Public Works Department that he turned his attention to petroleum, and his first oil-field development work was in the Island of Madoura, off Sourabaya, in Java. Unfortunately, the structures tested there were very steep and by no mean favourable, and no real success was attained. Going on to Persia as general manager for the Darcy Exploration Syndicate, he spent several years at Kast-i-Shirin, Chardine, and Marmatain, taking charge of the drilling operations in those fields. Those wore very difficult times in Persia; the nomadic population was actively hostile, and the syndicate's property - not to mention the lives of the staff - was often in jeopardy. But for Mr. Reynolds' tactful and diplomatic handling of dangerous situations, it may safely be said that the exploration work would have been impossible. No one who was not with Mr. Reynolds at that time can know how nearly the work of the Darcy Exploration Syndicate came to an end. But, with the location of the first tests of the Maidan-i-Naftun field, the tide turned; the formation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company followed quickly on the successful results of the first wells.

Mr. Reynolds afterwards turned his attention to Venezuela in the interests of the Venezuelan Oil Concessions, Ltd., and once again his efforts were handsomely rewarded. Few British technologists can have been associated with such outstanding successes in developing new fields as those of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the Venezuelan Oil Concessions; and these successes are due, to a greater extent than may be realised by many, to the sterling work of Mr. Reynolds. At a later date he joined the Technical Staff of the British Controlled Oil Company, and was actively engaged in pioneer work up to the time of his death.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Mining Engineers, and was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1885.


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