La historia del petróleo tiene nombres propios en lo que fue el albor de este negocio sucio y lucrativo. Los hermanos Samuel, la familia Nobel, Rothschild y Rockefeller fueron pioneros y recogieron la recompensa del dinero y el poder. Sin embargo, hubo un formidable personaje, que, aunque muy conocido por los estudiosos del tema, permaneció en las candilejas de la memoria histórica; era Frederick Lane. Se involucro en todos los negocios posibles del petróleo; manipulación, explotación, transporte, distribución, agencia, etc. y, de una manera pulcra e inteligente, trabajo con todos los grupos de poder que aparecían en el horizonte de este despertar macroeconómico.

Fig 1.- The Twin-screw Motor-driven Oil Tanker SEBASTIAN, on trial. Photo Frank & Sons, So. Shields. THE SHIPBUILDER 1914.jpg
Fig 1.- The Twin-screw Motor-driven Oil Tanker SEBASTIAN, on trial. Photo Frank & Sons, So. Shields. THE SHIPBUILDER 1914.

Quiza la mejor descripción de este magnate la hace Robert W. Tolf en el libro THE RUSSIAN ROCKEFELLERS: THE SAGA OF THE NOBEL FAMILY AND THE RUSSIAN OIL INDUSTRY. El ISBN-10 de este interesantisimo libro es: 0817965815, y el ISBN-13 es: 978-0817965815. Fue publicado por Hoover Institution Press, U.S. en febrero de 1982. Imprescindible en nuestras bibliotecas para todos aquellos que queremos conocer la apasionante historia del albor del petroleo. Veamos lo que comenta de Frederick Lane:…”Another visitor in 1886 was Fred Lane of the London firm of Lane and Macandrew, the shipbrokers who had imported the country’s first Russian kerosene. It was a one-time affair with Nobel; in subsequent years Lane worked with Nobel’s primary competitors. He worked with so many competitors, in fact, he was sometimes called “Shady Lane”—it often was difficult to discern just whom he was representing in a particular discussion or negotiation. But this blond and burly personable, keenly intelligent individual was as honest as he was capable and he had a great capacity for work and considerable charisma. Ile was, in fact, the father of the British oil industry, an expert in all phases, especially transportation. It was Lane who arranged for tankers to carry Rothschild oil across the Mediterranean and it was Lane who organized Rothschild’s London Companies and it was Lane who inspired and guided the officials of Shell: finally, it was Lane who worked with Royal Dutch and helped organize British Pctroleum Company (BP).
During his 1886 visit he shipped oíl from Batum to India. A few cases of Russian kerosene had reached the subcontinent the previous year, but Lane’s cargo was the first important shipment. Two years later the first Russian kerosene arrived in Singapore. In 1890 Lane returned to the Black Sea port, this time with a noted British merchant-trader Marcus Samuel, who was interested in purchasing Bnito’s case oil for sale in the Far East, a market up to that time completely monopolized by Standard Oil. Son of an East End family that had started its struggle for survival by selling small boxes made of varied seashells, Marcus and his brother had accumulated a modest fortune from their trade with the Orient…”
Tambien aparecen unos comentarios sobre Frederick Lane en el articulo HENRI DETERDING, ROYAL DUTCH/ SHELL AN THE DUTCH MARKET FOR PETROL, 1902-46. Escrito por Ferry De Goey en la revista BUSINESS HISTORY de 1º de octubre de 2002, quien hace la siguiente reflexión, en la que se ve la inmensa complejidad de la posición de Fred. Lane en las primeras operaciones de transacción de petroleos.:…” After American and Russian oil, the ‘Indische’ (Dutch East Indian) oil appeared on the European market. Royal Dutch had its head office in The Hague, but its field of activity lay initially in the Dutch East Indies. Between 1890 and 1900, Royal Dutch succeeded in capturing a small but growing part of the market for kerosene in South-East Asia, with the sale of its ‘Crown Oil’. However, in about 1898 Royal Dutch sank into a deep crisis when its oil wells on Sumatra suddenly dried up. Royal Dutch and Russian producers signed a two-year contract for the supply of kerosene. A joint venture was constructed, known as the Eastern Oil Association (EOA). Royal Dutch, however, did not have sufficient tonnage at its disposal for transporting this kerosene, and tankers needed to be chartered from British ship owners. The oil and shipping broker Frederick Lane (1851-1926), of Lane & MacAndrew, London, acted as intermediary. We know little about Lane, but -as we shall see- he made an important contribution to the creation of Shell and of the Asiatic company, and the merger between Shell and Royal Dutch in 1907. By about 1901, the position of Royal Dutch had improved, thanks to new and successful borings, to the point where the company was able to free itself from the Russian producers.

Fig 5.- One of the main engines of the SEBASTIAN, in the erecting shop.Text and photo from THE SHIPBUILDER. Year 1914..jpg
Fig 5.- One of the main engines of the SEBASTIAN, in the erecting shop.Text and photo from THE SHIPBUILDER. Year 1914.

Besides Standard Oil, the ‘ShellTransport & Trading Company (hereafter Shell) was a direct competitor of Royal Dutch in the South-East Asian kerosene market. The brothers Marcus and Sam Samuel directed this company. On the initiative of Frederick Lane, the Samuel brothers began their own shipping company. Lane owned the Rothschild agency for the sale of Russian kerosene in Great Britain. Sailing ships carried the kerosene via the Suez Canal to the Asian markets. Lane and the Rothschilds wanted to increase this market, but encountered two major problems. Because of the dangers of possible explosions and fires, the Suez Canal Authority did not allow tankers to pass through the canal. They had to take the long route round the Cape of Good Hope. This meant that European products lost the geographical advantage enjoyed by closer markets in Asia. Further, Lane and the Rothschilds did not have the South-East Asian sales organisation that the Samuel brothers had at their disposal. Lane brought the Rothschilds and the Samuel brothers together…”
Frederick Lane tambien poseyo una flota de tanques explotada por la firma Lane & MaCandrew, que tuvo una importante presencia en el transporte de los primeros embarques de crudo a España. Uno de estos buques, el LUX, ya lo hemos visto en el articulo Deutsch et Cie, LE LION y EL LEON, ya que no era otro que LE LION.
Hoy veremos un buque tanque, el SEBASTIAN, que debió haber sido familiar en nuestras costas y puertos, ya que para eso fue construido, pero que debido a la Gran Guerra, fue requisado por el Gobierno británico y se hundió antes de que pudiese dedicarse al trafico para el que fue concebido. El estudio de este buque aparece en la revista THE SHIPBUILDER. Revista fundada en 1906, en su Nº 44, de April Numbre, 1914, VOL. X, hace el siguiente y completo estudio del buque, que transcribimos integramente:…”Internal-combustion Engines for Ocean-going Ships”
No. VI.—The Twin-Screw Motor-Driven Oil Tanker «SEBASTIAN
The oil-carrying vessel Sebastian, which has been built by the well-known Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Limited, of Dundee, for the Sebastian Diesel Motor Boat Co., Limited (Messrs. Lane and Macandrew, managing owners), of London, is the first oil-tank vessel constructed in this country to have two-cycle Diesel oil engines. The general design of the ship, as shown in Plate VII. and in Fig. 1, is very similar to other bulk oil-carrying vessels, except that two pump rooms are fitted. The following are the leading particulars of the ship : Length B.P., 310ft. 0in.; Breadth, moulded, 45ft. 0 in.; Depth moulded to upper deck, 26ft. 3in.; Height of ‘tween decks, 7ft. 6in.; Load draught, 22ft. 1 in.; Deadweight on above draught, about, 4,600 tons.


The vessel has been constructed with ordinary transverse framing and to the highest class of Lloyd’s Register and under their special survey, the scantlings and construction in way of the oil tanks, the machinery space, and forward hold being shown in Figs, 2, 3, and 4. The vessel also conforms to the regulations of the Suez Canal for the carriage of petroleum in bulk.
There are six main oil tanks, separated by pump rooms into three pairs, so that three kinds of oil may be carried without fear of contamination, and a cofferdam is fitted at each end of the oil tanks to isolate the oil cargo from the other parts of the vessel. The centre longitudinal division in the main tanks and in the main fuel tank is oil-tight to the upper deck.
At the side of the expansion trunk summer tanks are formed over each main tank, and each summer tank is provided with a hatch containing three per cent. of the total capacity of the space to allow for expansion of the oil. Great care has been exercised with the boundaries of both the transverse and longitudinal bulkheads to ensure perfect oil-tightness, and double bars have been fitted, one 3 ½ in. by 3 ½ in. and one 6 ½ in. by 3 ½ in.
Ample capacity is provided for oil fuel in a cross bunker immediately forward of the engine room and in a large deep tank under the forward hold. The double bottom under the engines is arranged for fresh water, while the peaks are arranged as ballast tanks.
An efficient installation of oil piping capable of rapidly discharging the whole cargo has been fitted, consisting of a double 8-in. pipe line with a suction valve to each tank and master valves at each transverse bulkhead, and with cross-over connections and valve between each pair of tanks. All tank valves are operated from the upper deck, and there is also a connection from the 8-in. line to the cofferdams for filling and emptying these spaces. On the upper deck the pipes are so arranged that two kinds of oil can be discharged over each side at the same time, and these pipes can also be utilized for filling the oil tanks. There is also a discharge over the stern, and in the pump rooms there are two pipes on each side of the vessel for loading from or discharging into barges.
The two pump rooms are placed forward and aft of the bridge respectively, and each contains a 12in. by l0 in. by 14in. H.T. Duplex oil pump. These pumps have a capacity of 150 tons per hour. The connections in the pump rooms are so arranged that the pumps can draw either from the sea or any tank and deliver into any other tank, and any tank can be pumped out while another is being run or pumped up. A complete system of steaming-out pipes and vapour pipes has been fitted to the oil spaces, and wind sails have also been supplied to each main oil tank.
In the fore peak a 6 in. by 5 ¾ in. by 6 in. H.T. Duplex pump is fitted, with a 4-in. pipe line on deck, for the purpose of transferring liquid fuel from the reserve tanks forward to the fuel bunkers aft. This pipe can also be used for filling the reserve tanks. Another 6-in. by 5 ¾ in. by 6in H.T. Duplex pump (ballast) is fitted in the fore peak and draws from the sea, fore peak ballast tank and bilges, and delivers into the fore peak ballast tank, overboard, and into the wash-deck line.


The deck machinery of the vessel consists of two steam winches, steam windlass, two steam capstans on the poop, and steam steering gear in the poop. The vessel has three telescopic masts so that she may pass under the bridges of the Manchester Ship Canal, and four large derricks are provided for discharging case oil when necessary. A complete installation of electric light is fitted throughout.
The accommodation for the officers and crew is of the usual good style fitted in this class of vessel. The captain and officers are housed in the bridge amidships, with a chart room above and a wheelhouse above the chart room. The engineers’ accommodation is situated in the poop, and the seamen and engine-room hands are provided for in the forecastle. Special care has been taken with the ventilation, and all the rooms are provided with steam radiators. The propelling machinery of the SEBASTIAN (Fig. 5), which has been constructed by the Aktiebolaget Diesels Motorer, of Stockholm, consists of two sets of marine » Polar » Diesel motors of the two-stroke cycle type (single-acting, direct-reversing), driving twin screws.
Each motor consists of six working cylinders having a diameter of 17,72in., and a stroke of 21,27in., and on trial each set developed 800 B.H.P. at 165 revolutions per minute, or 1,600 B.H.P. collectively.
The bedplate is of cast iron, the crank pits forming an oil well. The main bearing bushes are of cast iron, lined with white metal, and have forced lubrication. The cylinders are supported on cast-iron columns and framing towards the centre of the vessel, and on round steel columns towards the sides. The cast-iron framing also carries the guide bars, the main air compressors, the bilge and circulating water pumps, etc. The cylinder liner and barrel are one casting, the space between forming a water jacket. The cylinder covers and piston are also water-cooled.
The scavenging cylinders are situated immediately under the working cylinders. The pistons of the former are slightly larger than those of the working cylinders, and are mounted on the same piston rods. The working cylinders at Web Frame are scavenged through a port in the cylinder barrel, which is uncovered by the piston when approaching the bottom of its stroke.
The scavenging pistons also serve the purpose of starting or reversing the engine, as by an arrangement of piston valves, operated from the starting platform, air from the starting air receivers is admitted to the under side of these pistons at a pressure of 751b. per sq. in., which causes the motors to revolve in the desired direction until one or other of the cylinders fire when the starting air is cut off and the scavenging cylinders again come into operation.
The exhaust port is placed opposite the scavenging port, and, in order to obtain the best scavenging action for the incoming air, the piston head is so shaped as to project the scavenging air upwards, thus ensuring the thorough cleansing of the cylinders.
With the arrangement adopted in this type of engine, it may be pointed out, the cylinder covers and tops are much simplified, the pistons are much more quickly accessible, and cams levers and springs are reduced to a minimum.
To each motor are fitted four two-stage air compressors, worked by levers and links from piston crossheads, three being fitted for supplying injection air to the fuel valves, and one for air to the starting air receivers. The main motors drive the pumps for supplying cooling water to the pistons and jackets, and also actuate the bilge pumps and lubricating-oil pumps.


The cam-shaft for operating the fuel valves is driven by gearing from the crankshaft, different cams being brought into action for ahead and astern running. Eccentrics for operating the fuel pumps are also driven by this shaft, one fuel pump being provided for each cylinder. The daily service tanks are fitted above the tank deck, and the fuel oil gravitates through the heaters and filters to the fuel pumps. The fuel-pump suction valves are controlled from the starting platform, and are also under the control of a governor in case of racing.
A turning engine, driven by steam or compressed air and of ample size to turn the main motors, is geared to each fly-wheel. In addition to the main air compressors on the motors, one Reavell auxiliary steam-driven air compressor and one independent auxiliary Diesel-driven air compressor are fitted on board to supply air to the storage air receivers.
Two multitubular donkey boilers are fitted at the after end of the engine room, as shown in Plate VII., the lower boiler being fired by oil on the Meyer-Smith pressure jet system, and the upper boiler being adapted for burning either coal or oil. These boilers supply steam to the engine room auxiliaries, deck machinery, etc. There are also installed in the engine room an auxiliary condenser, with Hall’s air and circulating pumps, the same makers’ Duplex feed pumps, two bilge pumps, one ballast pump, one auxiliary oil-feed pump, a feedheater, and evaporator.
The SEBASTIAN underwent a satisfactory trial recently, obtaining a speed of a little over eleven knots on the measured mile, after which a continuous trial of 24 hours duration was commenced. During the whole of the trials all parts of the machinery worked smoothly and to the entire satisfaction of the owners’ representatives. On the voyage from Dundee to the Thames, the vessel was intentionally run at about three-fourths power, giving an average speed of nine knots at 104 r.p.m. The ship will be employed in the American-Spanish oil trade.
We are indebted to the builders of the ship – the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Limited– for courteously furnishing the plans and data for the preparation of this article.
Estupendo articulo de esta fantástica revista cuya primera época es de incalculable valor histórico.
El buque se perdió el jueves, 10 de mayo de 1917, por incendio. El buque fue perdida total y transportaba petróleo desde New York a Le Havre

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