The root of Chevron’s multifaceted interests
By Samantha Carroll
Chevron has a wide portfolio. It is currently involved in oil and gas exploration and production; refining and shipping; mining, petrochemical production and power operations. In total, Chevron and its subsidiaries brought in over $250-billion USD in sales last year. The history of this expansive company spans several generations and intermingles with several other companies.
1879: Chevron’s earliest predecessor, Pacific Coast Oil Co. is incorporated in San Francisco. Shortly after its creation, Pacific Coast Oil inherits California’s Pico No.4, the first successful oil rig in the state.
1895: Coast Oil launches its first steel tanker, the George Loomis. The ship has a capacity of 6,500 barrels.
1990: Coast Oil is acquired by Standard Oil (Iowa). During the acquisition, Coast Oil is permitted to continue operating under the name Pacific Coast Oil Co.
1906: Iowa Standard and Pacific Coast Oil form a new entity, Standard Oil (California). Standard Oil California creates the first automotive “service station” in the state.
1910: After extensive exploration, Standard strikes oil in Kern County, California. The new find produces 1,500 barrels of oil per day.
1911: In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court splits the New York based Standard Oil from its subsidiaries. Standard Oil California, including the Pacific Coast brand, becomes a separate entity.
1919: After several reserve discoveries in California, Standard Oil produces more than one-quarter of all oil in the state.
1926: With the help of an extensive marketing campaign, Standard is now responsible for over 700 service stations in five American states. In the same year, the company officially changes its name to Standard Oil Co. of California (SoCal.)
1928: SoCal begins exploration in the Middle East – discovering oil in the Bahrain region. After this success, SoCal signs oil agreements with Saudi Arabia for similar explorations in other Saudi regions.
1932: A new subsidiary is created in Saudi Arabia – California Arabian Standard Oil Co. (Casco). Later called Aramco, this company is directed under SCcal until it is completely purchased by the Saudi government in 1980.
1945: After several petrochemical developments, SoCal builds the US’s first synthetic detergent plant.
1951: Reflective of its successes at home and overseas, SoCal reaches $1-billion in revenues for the first time. In the years to follow, the company continues to build on its petrochemical and oil advancements.
1961: SoCal merges with Standard Oil Co. (Kentucky).
1967: Chevron Oil Europe is created.
1977: The company undergoes major reorganization and officially changes its name to Chevron USA Inc. Chevron is an appropriate choice, as its brand has been used throughout the company’s many manifestations since the 1930s.
Chevron’s roots intermingle at several points with many other of the big players in the oil industry. SaudiAramco, once connected to the predecessors of both Chevron and what would become ExxonMobil, is now the largest oil company in the world. The many incarnations of Standard Oil (New York, New Jersey, Iowa and Kentucky) can be confusing to follow as the company was built, split apart and rebuilt. Following the oil industry’s interesting, if not complicated history, gives insight into the connectedness of the field and the mutual directions that many of the oil companies move in.