The launch of Iran's petroleum industry museums started in oil-rich Abadan. Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh tasked in 2013 Akbar Nematollahi, then public relations director of the ministry, with safeguarding old petroleum facilities. Due to the significance of the job, Mr. Nematollahi followed up on the mission seriously until it came to fruition.
It was February 6. The car carrying Minister Zangeneh arrived in the site of cranes. Everyone was waiting eagerly to hear his comments about the project. He stepped out of the car, but his eyeglasses did not let those present guess how he was looking at the jetties 1-11 there.
Mr. Nematollahi gave him some explanation. The minister looked at his surroundings and got back into his car. He said he would like to visit the museums.
After going through jetties we arrived in the refinery. The oldest sections of the refinery, including power plant No. 1, and other parts which are supposed to become museum were visited by the minister.
Mr. Zangeneh's remarks reminded me of the significance of launching petroleum industry museums. In a recent speech during the inauguration of the first museum of the petroleum industry in Abadan, he had underscored the need for setting up an attractive and influential museum there. Abadan has been instrumental in Iran's historic, industrial, cultural and political events. The minister had called for quicker work in launching other museums after Abadan's gasoline museum.
After visiting old parts of the refinery we arrived at the site where the ground was to be broken for the development of Abadan refinery. Iran's first vice president, Es'haq Jahangiri, was planned to attend the ceremony. The cars left the refinery one after another. First I thought we were headed to Abadan's technical school. But then I found out that we were moving towards Abadan's gasoline museum. Yes, I was right. The gasoline museum had been inaugurated in January in the presence of Abbas Kazemi, CEO of National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), Amir-Hossein Zamani-Nia, deputy minister of petroleum for international affairs and trading, Abadan's Friday Prayers leader as well as local and state managers. Residents of Abadan and visitors from other parts of Iran have shown willingness to see this museum. That indicates that a bright future is awaiting petroleum museums in Iran.
Mr Zangeneh stepped into the museum. He was looking at every object meticulously. He started from the exterior and inspected gas pumps and the history of their use. Then he entered a room which used to house oil selling facilities. Mr Zangeneh continued his visit by going towards fuel supply tankers and old riveted tanks. With every step he made into the museum he showed more eagerness and it was clear in his face. One could conclude that he was happy with the project and he was enjoying his visit.
The minister then went to a room where historical documents and objects were on display. He was looking at them every carefully and did not cease to ask questions. He even asked questions about the first stamp. Mr Zangeneh had something to add to what the curator said of the objects put on exhibit. The minister even recounted a story about the old heater at his home. Unlike any time else, he laughed so loudly that his voice echoed all through the room.
Mr. Zangeneh finally wrote down a note in a book of memories at the museum. His note was as follows: "This project is the first step for establishing a chain of petroleum industry museums, particularly in oil-rich areas. I offer my special gratitude to those who have made efforts in this regard. I hope that this work will continue with more efforts and endeavors by organizers. Abadan by itself is the museum of Iran's petroleum industry and symbolizes Iran's modern industry. We have to take maximum advantage of this museum in a bid to attract more tourists."
The visit ended after taking souvenir photos at the museum. The minister was smiling all the time. Then we headed to the hall where an event was scheduled to be held.
The event was to mark the start of operations for the development the Abadan refinery in order to stabilize its production capacity. Iran's first vice president, minister of petroleum and top oil managers were present.
Mr. Zangeneh started talking about the century-old history of the refinery. He said he was determined to protect this industrial symbol of Iran and Abadan's history of petroleum. He stressed the fact that this equipment and facilities should not be destroyed.
The minister highlighted the unrivaled position of the city of Abadan and its refinery in the country's marking historical, industrial and political events. He called for the establishment of an attractive and influential museum.
The minister noted the oldness of equipment at the refinery and called on the museum organizers to take action against the destruction of these symbols. He said that the planned museum must be launched as soon as possible while necessary restoration work needed to be done with the help of available facilities and potentialities.
Zangeneh described Abadan's oil refinery as the symbol of industrialization of Iran and highlighted the need for protecting the history of the petroleum industry in this city. He said that some installations at the refinery were still working despite their decrepit status. Zangeneh said the same installations should serve as a tourist attraction.
Museum of Petroleum and Sacred Defense in Abadan. Five spots have been located for setting up museums in Abadan. They are as follows: Abadan oil refinery, the building of power plant No. 1, Abadan gas station as the first fuel distribution center in Iran, Abadan's technical school as the first school for training petroleum industry staff in Iran, jetties No 1 to No 11 in Abadan (where Akvan and sulfur cranes are being kept) and luxury houses including three buildings at Barim area.