American citizen born on 10 March 1940 in Cairo (Egypt) from Lebanese parents and resident between the United Arab Emirates and France.
Education: MBA from Harvard Business School (1966). Attended the American University in Cairo, a PhD program at Cambridge University, and a program at INSEAD in France.
Spoken languages: English, French and Arabic.
- Founder, chairman and owner Oil Capital Limited (OCL) Inc. which was then replaced by Netoil:
- Karpinsky (Russia) licenses: Acquired in 2021 80% of Russian Company CJSC Rostneftegaz Geo (RNGG) which holds licenses for 2 exploration blocks with up to 9.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent estimated resources, mostly gas, in the Karpinsky Ridge which extends from Kazakhstan through the Caspian Sea to the Donbass basin.
- Turkmenistan’s Block I (Offshore) and Block III (Onshore): Acquired in 1993 (and later farmed out) exploration and development rights and equity ownership positions in two of Turkmenistan’s major oil and gas producing properties. 3.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (13 trillion cubic feet of gas and 700 million barrels of oil) and 1,400 working wells.
- Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline: In 1997, originated the BTC Pipeline (of BP), one of the longest pipeline in the world, with a length of 1,768km, by negotiating and signing the original pipeline right-of-way transit agreement with the Government of Turkey. Filled to capacity, the BTC Pipeline can carry more than 1 per cent of the world’s oil supply, making it a strategically critical piece of infrastructure for the world (Financial Times). Considered as “one of the great engineering endeavours of the new millennium” (BP and NATO working papers). BTC carries mainly ACG crude oil and Shah Deniz condensate from Azerbaijan to the Mediterranean Sea and thus to world markets. In addition, other volumes of crude oil and condensate continue to be transported via BTC, including volumes from Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazakhstan.
From 1966 to 1990:
- Chairman of Kidder, Peabody & Co. Middle East:
- Suez-Mediterranean (SUMED) Pipeline: Conceived and negotiated in 1973 the well-known 200-mile long SUMED Pipeline, a pipeline designed to run parallel to the Suez Canal. Considered as “one of the world’s greatest engineering feats” (Center for Strategic and International Studies). SUMED pipeline captures 80% of oil movement share from the Arabian/Persian Gulf to Europe. SUMED provides the most reliable, secure and economic route for Arab Gulf crude oil movements to the consuming refining centres in the West. Over the years, it has gained market share to the point today where almost 80% of the oil shipped from the Arabian Gulf to Europe passes through the pipelines, with major oil companies using SUMED as their sole route to Europe.
- Banking: Led the takeover, run and re-built of the largest bank in Lebanon, Intra Bank.
- Founder and chairman of the surviving entity, Intra Investment Company (IIC), the first and one of the major sovereign wealth investment companies in the Middle East (the major shareholders of the company were the governments of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Lebanon):
- Banking: Owned and controlled banks in Europe and in Africa through a French bank, Banque de Participations et de Placements (created after the purchase of the commercial interests of the Paris-based Banque Stern) and its subsidiary Banque de Placements du Zaïre; and, through a Swiss bank, the Banca di Particepiazioni e Investimenti.
- Chantiers navals de La Ciotat: Acquired by Intra Bank in 1966 and then transferred to Intra Investment Company in 1967 the former second largest shipyard of France which had specialized in submarines, patrol boats and other military platforms plus very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and conventional bulk cargo vessels for the civilian maritime industry; and, pioneered the construction of LNG and LPG carriers for oceangoing natural gas transport: Built the first major LNG Carrier, the 63,445 DWT Benjamin Franklin, in 1975, for Gazocean (Gaz de France, now Engie).
- Chairman and owner of Milshare Holding:
- Banking: Owned and controlled banks in the Middle East and in the United States: Bank Al Mashrek (and its subsidiary Park Avenue Bank in New York), Credit libanais (which has total assets of $10 billion), Capital Trust Bank and First Phoenician Bank.
- Founder, chairman and shareholder of First Arabian Corporation (FAC):
- Ar-Razi: Conceived, negotiated and financed the start of Ar-Razi (formerly Japanese Saudi Methanol Company) in 1979. The Ar-Razi plants (of Sabic and Mitsubishi) are located in the methanol complex at Jubail in Saudi Arabia. The first methanol plant was constructed in 1983. It had several expansions and is the world’s largest single chemical methanol production complex with an annual production of 5 million tons.
- Tamoil (Tamraz Oil): Founded and built Europe’s Tamoil by purchasing and combining all of the Italian assets of Amoco (Standard Oil Company of Indiana) in 1983, mainly a refinery and service stations. In 1986, the Libyan Government became a shareholder. Tamoil expanded in Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Spain): 3,000 service stations, an extensive pipeline distribution system and three refineries with a daily capacity of 255,000 barrels of oil.
- Diamond concessions in Central African Republic: Main shareholder of Sunshine Mining Company (at that time one of the six largest single-lode producers of silver in the United States) which was developing Sunshine Mine in northern Idaho, historically one of the largest producers of silver in the world. It is said to have produced 360 million ounces of silver since it was found in 1884. Then, there was a downturn in the world metals production market which led to severe layoffs in the 1980s, and production was limited thereafter. A report by Behre Dolbear & Company in 2007 estimated that the mine still contains “total reserves of 23.48 million ounces of silver (including a 15 percent mine recovery loss deduction) within a larger resource base containing 231.5 million ounces of silver.”
- Kaiser Steel Company: Invested in the company which was opened by the industrialist Henry Kaiser in 1942 on thirteen hundred acres. Kaiser, the first integrated mill west of the Rockies, provided steel plate for the West Coast shipbuilding industry. Manufacturers of everything from steel file cabinets to steel buckets to chain-link fences grew up around Fontana, and so did large machine shops that serviced steelmaking equipment. Kaiser Steel Company suffered from cheap steel flowed into California from Japan.
- Banking: Owned Bank of the Commonwealth. As such, it was a problem for all of the major United States regulatory agencies, which included the Federal Reserve System (FED), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the State of Michigan banking regulators. Worked closely with all three regulators over a number of years to solve the bank’s problems, and it was eventually given a 100% clean bill of health. At that point, with the regulators’ agreement and encouragement, merged Bank of the Commonwealth into Detroit Bank and Trust to form Comerica Corporation, a large nationwide bank holding company, number 36 in size nationally, with $71.7 billion in assets and a net worth of $7.7 billion. Became Comerica’s largest single individual shareholder following this transaction.
- Hotels: In the early 1980s, became 100% owner of the Meurice Hotel Group in Paris, which owned the Meurice, Prince de Galles and Grand Hotels, as well as the famed Café de la Paix. At the time, the 1,000 rooms of these three hotels comprised 25% of all the luxury hotel rooms in Paris. The properties were sold to Grand Metropolitan Hotel Corporation of London in the mid-1980s.
Tamraz Banks were also partners of Société Générale in Frab Bank, Bank of America in Egypt and Crédit Agricole in the Central African Republic (the bank was named B.A.C.D.).
- 26 Champs Elysées real estate development and shopping arcade.
- London real estate – Wilton Crescent and others in Mayfair area.
- Other prestigious properties in New York, Paris, London, Marbella, Dubai and elsewhere.
Served for 10 years as a member of its Board of Trustees which endowed a number of named scholarships for Egyptian students of exceptional promise).
Director of Ross Group PLC, a company on the Premium Listing of the Main Board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Former Vice-Chairman of Middle East Airlines (MEA).
Former Owner of Agri Business 24,000 Acres – 1 million tons sugar production.
Appointed in 1988 by Lebanon’s President Amine Gemayel as Governor of Banque du Liban (Lebanon’s Central Bank) but the decree was not signed by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Salim Hoss because of rivalry with the President.
Ranked number 1 in a survey for Presidential Elections in Lebanon (published in An Nahar).
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Depicted in “Syriana” a full feature film