Company House: The Beginning of Qatar’s Economic Success

Msheireb Downtown Doha Complex.

It turned out that not only me, all tourists were confused to find the entrance. That was what a male staff who came out to called me and directed me to entering the museum.

Welcome to Msheireb Museum, you should know that this museum consists of four parts. They are Company House which you are currently visiting. In west of this building is Bin Jelmood House, while in east there is Radwani House. Another one, across that street (pointing at Bin Jalmood Street), is Mohammed Bin Jassim House. To make it easier for understanding all stories inside the museum, please install the Msheireb Museums application. You can be guided by this application. Please write your identity in the guest book, and welcome to Msheireb Museums,  his memorization was smoothly conveyed.

“Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. Where are you come from, sir?”, I briefly answered and then asked.

“Bangladesh”, he answered with a smile.

Yes, the learning began…..

If you want to know about….

How did Qatar’s economy rise from adversity……and how did they struggle to find oil……

This is where it is.


So in the final episode of my adventure in Qatar, the content of this article will be very serious. Let’s learn about Qatar history!.

The history is begin……

First time, at the entrance of museum was the logo of a well-known oil company indicating that the establishment and financing of this museum was sponsored by Qatar Shell.

After passing the reception desk, it was explained in an article that this building was the home of Hussain Al-Naama, manager of Doha Port, built in 1920, then leased by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (a British company which holding an exclusive contract for oil exploration at Qatar) on 1935 and was used as its headquarters for two decades. Once upon a time, the search and exploration of Qatar’s oil started from this house.

This was the truck used to transport workers to the oil fields at west of Qatar.

It was said that these workers would back home one time in a month to received their salaries, then were allowed to back to their homes in just one day to meet their families, after that, they had to return to the oil fields to work. This museum was dedicated to these pioneers who interpret endurance, sacrifice and commitment to build Qatar.

Qatar’s oil industry journey was structurely explained with former oil pipelines.

Dating back to the 1920s, when Qatar was a country that depended on trade, fisheries and pearl fishing. And this country was already on the verge of economic collapse due to the First World War, the Great Depression of 1929 and ever since pearls have been cultivated in Japan.

The pipe was so original….I’m fascinated.

You needed to know that catching pearls was a risky job. In 1929, there was a hurricane that sank 80% of ships in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. This storm killed five thousand people.

Entering the 1940s, when the Second World War broke out, Qatar’s oil exploration efforts had stalled. This made all Qataris hopeless again, so they have thought of going back to sea and looking for pearls.

Luckily in 1946, a year after the end of Second World War, the British returned to Qatar to continue exploration. When they arrived, when was the tanker unable to dock in Zikrit Waters because it was shallow. So a new export terminal was built in Umm Said, south of Doha. Then continued with the construction of oil pipelines from Umm Said to Dukhan. The relentless effort finally made Qatar successful in exporting its first oil on December 31, 1949. In subsequent developments, oil production in Qatar sharply increased from what was originally under 50,000 Barrel/day in 1949 to more than 2,000,000 Barrel/day in 2010….Wow, that was cool.

The next important chapter, Qatar gained independence from Britain on September 3, 1971. Three years later, the Qatar General Petroleum Company was formed. And in 1977, Qatar General Petroleum Company and Shell Qatar Ltd. was nationalized to become Qatar Petroleum, so that since then oil and gas were fully controlled by the state.

Qatar was a lucky country. Shortly after independence, a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) field was discovered in the north of its territory. To explore this, the Qatar Gas Company was founded in 1984 and their first LNG export took place in 1996 to Japan.

Video room….Seeing the dedication of the pioneers in developing the country’s oil so that Qatar experienced rapid economic progress.
Biston power generator from England….This was the first electric generator in Qatar.

In the back room of the Company House, there was a room entitled “Open Storage” which displayed some of the equipment used by the oil company workers in the early days of its operation. There were tennis rackets, hockey sticks, rugby balls, radios, vehicle wheels, food baskets, typewriters, packaged pineapples with the “Marvel” brand and soft drinks with the “Namlite” brand.

Classic typewriter brand “ROYAL”.
Packaged pineapple fruit with the brand “Marvel”.

In the back room, a room entitled “The Courtyard: Life as a Worker” was designed, in which several white sculptures were built which visualize Qataris working for a British oil company.

Illustration of oil workers at that time.

Walking towards the exit, there was an “Interview” room where the Msheireb Museum team interviewed Qatari pioneers to collect useful information as references, research materials and exhibition materials in this museum.

Sofa in the interview room.
This was a full reference in Arabic…. Hahaha.

There was also a “Share Your Story” booth that displayed testimonials from pioneer family members about their hard work and life when they were employees of the oil company.

In the same room there was also a “Contemporary Voices” booth. This three-sided screen described the stories of pioneers in a documentary.

Sat back and listened to the stories of pioneer families….So touching.
Or watch the documentary of pioneers themselves….Goosebumps when watching it.

And at the end of museum, several profiles of pioneer oil workers awere displayed in the “Pioneers’ Stories” room. It was narrated that Muhammad bin Muhammad Muftah who worked as a telephone receiver and driver, Jasim bin Qroun as a rigger, Bu Abbas who was in charge of driving an international standard truck to carry geologists, Thamir Muftah who was in charge of handling electricity affairs, Jassim bin Muhammad Jaber Al- Naameh in charge of handling the generator, Ibrahim bin Saleh Bu Matar Al-Muhannadi who served as a houseboy, and finally Mansour bin Khalil Al-Hajiri who became the first employee at an oil company and served as a guide, because he was a person who understood everything very well. Qatar region and able to find the place you were looking for even in the dark or fog.

I slowly read each of their heroic stories.
Mr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Hitmi, firefighter at Qatar Petroleum Production Authority.

Finished exploring the Company House, I exited at back door. I had a chance to stop at Empirecof, a small coffee shop located in the courtyard of this museum.

Yuk nge-latte dulu….

After having coffee, I took the time to eat my lunch in the Company House yard. In this park there was a free water station which could be used to drink for free…. Wow, Qatar.

“Where is the museum gate, Sir?”, was the question which tourists often ask me during a break in the park.

My visit to the Company House was really over, it was time for me to head to another part of Msheireb Museum.

Come on, follow me again….

2 thoughts on “Company House: The Beginning of Qatar’s Economic Success

Leave a Reply