Standard Oil Co. Inc. was an American oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company and monopoly. Established in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refinery in the world of its time. Its history as one of the world's first and largest multinational corporations ended in 1911, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a landmark case, that Standard Oil was an illegal monopoly.
Standard Oil dominated the oil products market initially through horizontal integration in the refining sector, then, in later years vertical integration; the company was an innovator in the development of the business trust. The Standard Oil trust streamlined production and logistics, lowered costs, and undercut competitors. "Trust-busting" critics accused Standard Oil of using aggressive pricing to destroy competitors and form a monopoly that threatened other businesses.
Rockefeller ran the company as its chairman, until his retirement in 1897. He remained the major shareholder, and in 1911, with the dissolution of the Standard Oil trust into 34 smaller companies, Rockefeller became the richest man in the world, as the initial income of these individual enterprises proved to be much bigger than that of a single larger company. Its successors such as ExxonMobil or Chevron are still among the companies with the largest income worldwide. By 1882, his top aide was John Dustin Archbold. After 1896, Rockefeller disengaged from business to concentrate on his philanthropy, leaving Archbold in control. Other notable Standard Oil principals include Henry Flagler, developer of the Florida East Coast Railway and resort cities, and Henry H. Rogers, who built the Virginian Railway.
|Standard Oil Co. Inc.|
|Industry||Oil and gas|
|Successor||34 successor entities|
|Defunct||Standard Oil dissolved in 1911. The original Standard Oil Company corporate entity continues in existence and was the operating entity for Sohio; the Standard Oil Company was transformed into entities such as ESSO (phonetic spelling of SO), now Exxon; and SOcal, now Chevron |
|Products||Fuel, lubricant, petrochemicals|
Number of employees
Standard Oil's pre-history began in 1863 as an Ohio partnership formed by industrialist John D. Rockefeller, his brother William Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, chemist Samuel Andrews, silent partner Stephen V. Harkness, and Oliver Burr Jennings, who had married the sister of William Rockefeller's wife. In 1870, Rockefeller abolished the partnership and incorporated Standard Oil in Ohio. Of the initial 10,000 shares, John D. Rockefeller received 2,667; Harkness received 1,334; William Rockefeller, Flagler, and Andrews received 1,333 each; Jennings received 1,000, and the firm of Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler received 1,000. Rockefeller chose the "Standard Oil" name as a symbol of the reliable "standards" of quality and service that he envisioned for the nascent oil industry.
In the early years, John D. Rockefeller dominated the combine; he was the single most important figure in shaping the new oil industry.:35 He quickly distributed power and the tasks of policy formation to a system of committees, but always remained the largest shareholder. Authority was centralized in the company's main office in Cleveland, but decisions in the office were made in a cooperative way.
The company grew by increasing sales and through acquisitions. After purchasing competing firms, Rockefeller shut down those he believed to be inefficient and kept the others. In a seminal deal, in 1868, the Lake Shore Railroad, a part of the New York Central, gave Rockefeller's firm a going rate of one cent a gallon or forty-two cents a barrel, an effective 71% discount from its listed rates in return for a promise to ship at least 60 carloads of oil daily and to handle load and unload on its own. Smaller companies decried such deals as unfair because they were not producing enough oil to qualify for discounts.
Standard's actions and secret transport deals helped its kerosene price to drop from 58 to 26 cents from 1865 to 1870. Rockefeller used the Erie canal as a cheap alternative form of transportation - in the summer months when it was not frozen - to ship his refined oil from Cleveland to New York City. In the winter months his only options were the three trunk lines - the Erie Railroad and the New York Central Railroad to New York City, and the Pennsylvania Railroad to Philadelphia. Competitors disliked the company's business practices, but consumers liked the lower prices. Standard Oil, being formed well before the discovery of the Spindletop oil field (in Texas, far from Standard Oil's base in the Mid-West) and a demand for oil other than for heat and light, was well placed to control the growth of the oil business. The company was perceived to own and control all aspects of the trade.
In 1872, Rockefeller joined the South Improvement Co. which would have allowed him to receive rebates for shipping and drawbacks on oil his competitors shipped. But when this deal became known, competitors convinced the Pennsylvania Legislature to revoke South Improvement's charter. No oil was ever shipped under this arrangement. Using highly effective tactics, later widely criticized, it absorbed or destroyed most of its competition in Cleveland in less than two months and later throughout the northeastern United States.
A. Barton Hepburn was directed by the New York State Legislature in 1879 to investigate the railroads' practice of giving rebates within the state. Merchants without ties to the oil industry had pressed for the hearings. Prior to the committee's investigation, few knew of the size of Standard Oil's control and influence on seemingly unaffiliated oil refineries and pipelines - Hawke (1980) cites that only a dozen or so within Standard Oil knew the extent of company operations. The committee counsel, Simon Sterne, questioned representatives from the Erie Railroad and the New York Central Railroad and discovered that at least half of their long-haul traffic granted rebates, and that much of this traffic came from Standard Oil. The committee then shifted focus to Standard Oil's operations. John Dustin Archbold, as president of Acme Oil Company, denied that Acme was associated with Standard Oil. He then admitted to being a director of Standard Oil. The committee's final report scolded the railroads for their rebate policies and cited Standard Oil as an example. This scolding was largely moot to Standard Oil's interests since long-distance oil pipelines were now their preferred method of transportation.
In response to state laws trying to limit the scale of companies, Rockefeller and his associates developed innovative ways of organizing, to effectively manage their fast growing enterprise. On January 2, 1882, they combined their disparate companies, spread across dozens of states, under a single group of trustees. By a secret agreement, the existing 37 stockholders conveyed their shares "in trust" to nine trustees: John and William Rockefeller, Oliver H. Payne, Charles Pratt, Henry Flagler, John D. Archbold, William G. Warden, Jabez Bostwick, and Benjamin Brewster. This organization proved so successful that other giant enterprises adopted this "trust" form.
In 1885, Standard Oil of Ohio moved its headquarters from Cleveland to its permanent headquarters at 26 Broadway in New York City. Concurrently, the trustees of Standard Oil of Ohio chartered the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey (SOCNJ) to take advantages of New Jersey's more lenient corporate stock ownership laws.
In 1890, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Sherman Antitrust Act (Senate 52-1; House 242-0), a source of American anti-monopoly laws. The law forbade every contract, scheme, deal, or conspiracy to restrain trade, though the phrase "restraint of trade" remained subjective. The Standard Oil group quickly attracted attention from antitrust authorities leading to a lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General David K. Watson.
From 1882 to 1906, Standard paid out $548,436,000 in dividends at 65.4% payout ratio. The total net earnings from 1882 to 1906 amounted to $838,783,800, exceeding the dividends by $290,347,800, which was used for plant expansions.
In 1896, John Rockefeller retired from the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, the holding company of the group, but remained president and a major shareholder. Vice-president John Dustin Archbold took a large part in the running of the firm. In the year 1904, Standard Oil controlled 91% of oil production and 85% of final sales in the United States. At this point in time, state and federal laws sought to counter this development with "antitrust" laws. In 1911, the U.S. Justice Department sued the group under the federal antitrust law and ordered its breakup into 34 companies.
Standard Oil's market position was initially established through an emphasis on efficiency and responsibility. While most companies dumped gasoline in rivers (this was before the automobile was popular), Standard used it to fuel its machines. While other companies' refineries piled mountains of heavy waste, Rockefeller found ways to sell it. For example, Standard created the first synthetic competitor for beeswax and bought the company that invented and produced Vaseline, the Chesebrough Manufacturing Co., which was a Standard company only from 1908 until 1911.
One of the original "Muckrakers" was Ida M. Tarbell, an American author and journalist. Her father was an oil producer whose business had failed due to Rockefeller's business dealings. After extensive interviews with a sympathetic senior executive of Standard Oil, Henry H. Rogers, Tarbell's investigations of Standard Oil fueled growing public attacks on Standard Oil and on monopolies in general. Her work was published in 19 parts in McClure's magazine from November 1902 to October 1904, then in 1904 as the book The History of the Standard Oil Co.
The Standard Oil Trust was controlled by a small group of families. Rockefeller stated in 1910: "I think it is true that the Pratt family, the Payne–Whitney family (which were one, as all the stock came from Colonel Payne), the Harkness-Flagler family (which came into the company together) and the Rockefeller family controlled a majority of the stock during all the history of the company up to the present time."
These families reinvested most of the dividends in other industries, especially railroads. They also invested heavily in the gas and the electric lighting business (including the giant Consolidated Gas Co. of New York City). They made large purchases of stock in U.S. Steel, Amalgamated Copper, and even Corn Products Refining Co.
Weetman Pearson, a British petroleum entrepreneur in Mexico, began negotiating with Standard Oil in 1912–13 to sell his "El Aguila" oil company, since Pearson was no longer bound to promises to the Porfirio Díaz regime (1876–1911) to not to sell to U.S. interests. However, the deal fell through and the firm was sold to Royal Dutch Shell.
Standard Oil's production increased so rapidly it soon exceeded U.S. demand and the company began viewing export markets. In the 1890s, Standard Oil began marketing kerosene to China's large population of close to 400 million as lamp fuel. For its Chinese trademark and brand Standard Oil adopted the name Mei Foo (Chinese: 美孚), (which translates to Mobil). Mei Foo also became the name of the tin lamp that Standard Oil produced and gave away or sold cheaply to Chinese farmers, encouraging them to switch from vegetable oil to kerosene. Response was positive, sales boomed and China became Standard Oil's largest market in Asia. Prior to Pearl Harbor, Stanvac was the largest single U.S. investment in Southeast Asia.
The North China Department of Socony (Standard Oil Company of New York) operated a subsidiary called Socony River and Coastal Fleet, North Coast Division, which became the North China Division of Stanvac (Standard Vacuum Oil Company) after that company was formed in 1933. To distribute its products, Standard Oil constructed storage tanks, canneries (bulk oil from large ocean tankers was re-packaged into 5-US-gallon (19 l; 4.2 imp gal) tins), warehouses and offices in key Chinese cities. For inland distribution the company had motor tank trucks and railway tank cars, and for river navigation it had a fleet of low-draft steamers and other vessels.
Stanvac's North China Division, based in Shanghai, owned hundreds of river going vessels, including motor barges, steamers, launches, tugboats and tankers. Up to 13 tankers operated on the Yangtze River, the largest of which were Mei Ping (1,118 gross tonnage (GT)), Mei Hsia (1,048 GT), and Mei An (934 GT). All three were destroyed in the 1937 USS Panay incident. Mei An was launched in 1901 and was the first vessel in the fleet. Other vessels included Mei Chuen, Mei Foo, Mei Hung, Mei Kiang, Mei Lu, Mei Tan, Mei Su, Mei Xia, Mei Ying, and Mei Yun. Mei Hsia, a tanker, was specially designed for river duty and was built by New Engineering and Shipbuilding Works of Shanghai, who also built the 500-ton launch Mei Foo in 1912. Mei Hsia ("Beautiful Gorges") was launched in 1926 and carried 350 tons of bulk oil in three holds, plus a forward cargo hold, and space between decks for carrying general cargo or packed oil. She had a length of 206 feet (63 m), a beam of 32 feet (9.8 m), depth of 10 feet 6 inches (3.2 m), and had a bullet-proof wheelhouse. Mei Ping ("Beautiful Tranquility"), launched in 1927, was designed offshore, but assembled and finished in Shanghai. Its oil-fuel burners came from the U.S. and water-tube boilers came from England.
Standard Oil Company and Socony-Vacuum Oil Company became partners in providing markets for the oil reserves in the Middle East. In 1906, SOCONY (later Mobil) opened its first fuel terminals in Alexandria. It explored in Palestine before the World War broke out, but ran into conflict with the British government.
By 1890, Standard Oil controlled 88 percent of the refined oil flows in the United States. The state of Ohio successfully sued Standard, compelling the dissolution of the trust in 1892. But Standard simply separated Standard Oil of Ohio and kept control of it. Eventually, the state of New Jersey changed its incorporation laws to allow a company to hold shares in other companies in any state. So, in 1899, the Standard Oil Trust, based at 26 Broadway in New York, was legally reborn as a holding company, the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey (SOCNJ), which held stock in 41 other companies, which controlled other companies, which in turn controlled yet other companies. According to Daniel Yergin in his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power (1990), this conglomerate was seen by the public as all-pervasive, controlled by a select group of directors, and completely unaccountable.:96–98
In 1904, Standard controlled 91 percent of production and 85 percent of final sales. Most of its output was kerosene, of which 55 percent was exported around the world. After 1900 it did not try to force competitors out of business by underpricing them. The federal Commissioner of Corporations studied Standard's operations from the period of 1904 to 1906 and concluded that "beyond question ... the dominant position of the Standard Oil Co. in the refining industry was due to unfair practices—to abuse of the control of pipe-lines, to railroad discriminations, and to unfair methods of competition in the sale of the refined petroleum products". Due to competition from other firms, their market share had gradually eroded to 70 percent by 1906 which was the year when the antitrust case was filed against Standard, and down to 64 percent by 1911 when Standard was ordered broken up and at least 147 refining companies were competing with Standard including Gulf, Texaco, and Shell. It did not try to monopolize the exploration and pumping of oil (its share in 1911 was 11 percent).
Rebates, preferences, and other discriminatory practices in favor of the combination by railroad companies; restraint and monopolization by control of pipe lines, and unfair practices against competing pipe lines; contracts with competitors in restraint of trade; unfair methods of competition, such as local price cutting at the points where necessary to suppress competition; [and] espionage of the business of competitors, the operation of bogus independent companies, and payment of rebates on oil, with the like intent.
The lawsuit argued that Standard's monopolistic practices had taken place over the preceding four years:
The general result of the investigation has been to disclose the existence of numerous and flagrant discriminations by the railroads in behalf of the Standard Oil Co. and its affiliated corporations. With comparatively few exceptions, mainly of other large concerns in California, the Standard has been the sole beneficiary of such discriminations. In almost every section of the country that company has been found to enjoy some unfair advantages over its competitors, and some of these discriminations affect enormous areas.
The government identified four illegal patterns: (1) secret and semi-secret railroad rates; (2) discriminations in the open arrangement of rates; (3) discriminations in classification and rules of shipment; (4) discriminations in the treatment of private tank cars. The government alleged:
Almost everywhere the rates from the shipping points used exclusively, or almost exclusively, by the Standard are relatively lower than the rates from the shipping points of its competitors. Rates have been made low to let the Standard into markets, or they have been made high to keep its competitors out of markets. Trifling differences in distances are made an excuse for large differences in rates favorable to the Standard Oil Co., while large differences in distances are ignored where they are against the Standard. Sometimes connecting roads prorate on oil—that is, make through rates which are lower than the combination of local rates; sometimes they refuse to prorate; but in either case the result of their policy is to favor the Standard Oil Co. Different methods are used in different places and under different conditions, but the net result is that from Maine to California the general arrangement of open rates on petroleum oil is such as to give the Standard an unreasonable advantage over its competitors.
The government said that Standard raised prices to its monopolistic customers but lowered them to hurt competitors, often disguising its illegal actions by using bogus supposedly independent companies it controlled.
The evidence is, in fact, absolutely conclusive that the Standard Oil Co. charges altogether excessive prices where it meets no competition, and particularly where there is little likelihood of competitors entering the field, and that, on the other hand, where competition is active, it frequently cuts prices to a point which leaves even the Standard little or no profit, and which more often leaves no profit to the competitor, whose costs are ordinarily somewhat higher.
On May 15, 1911, the US Supreme Court upheld the lower court judgment and declared the Standard Oil group to be an "unreasonable" monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act, Section II. It ordered Standard to break up into 34 independent companies with different boards of directors, the biggest two of the companies were Standard Oil of New Jersey (which became Exxon) and Standard Oil of New York (which became Mobil).
Standard's president, John D. Rockefeller, had long since retired from any management role. But, as he owned a quarter of the shares of the resultant companies, and those share values mostly doubled, he emerged from the dissolution as the richest man in the world. The dissolution had actually propelled Rockefeller's personal wealth.
By 1911, with public outcry at a climax, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, in Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, that Standard Oil of New Jersey must be dissolved under the Sherman Antitrust Act and split into 34 companies. Two of these companies were Standard Oil of New Jersey (Jersey Standard or Esso), which eventually became Exxon, and Standard Oil of New York (Socony), which eventually became Mobil; those two companies later merged into ExxonMobil.
Over the next few decades, both companies grew significantly. Jersey Standard, led by Walter C. Teagle, became the largest oil producer in the world. It acquired a 50 percent share in Humble Oil & Refining Co., a Texas oil producer. Socony purchased a 45 percent interest in Magnolia Petroleum Co., a major refiner, marketer and pipeline transporter. In 1931, Socony merged with Vacuum Oil Co., an industry pioneer dating back to 1866, and a growing Standard Oil spin-off in its own right.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Jersey Standard had oil production and refineries in Indonesia but no marketing network. Socony-Vacuum had Asian marketing outlets supplied remotely from California. In 1933, Jersey Standard and Socony-Vacuum merged their interests in the region into a 50–50 joint venture. Standard-Vacuum Oil Co., or "Stanvac", operated in 50 countries, from East Africa to New Zealand, before it was dissolved in 1962.
The original Standard Oil Company corporate entity continues in existence and was the operating entity for Sohio; it is now a subsidiary of BP. However, BP continued to sell gasoline under the Sohio brand until 1991. Other Standard oil entities include "Standard Oil of Indiana" which became Amoco after other mergers and a name change in the 1980s, and "Standard Oil of California" which became the Chevron Corp.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1911 that antitrust law required Standard Oil to be broken into smaller, independent companies. Among the "baby Standards" that still exist are ExxonMobil and Chevron. Some have speculated that if not for that court ruling, Standard Oil could have possibly been worth more than $1 trillion in the 2000s. Whether the breakup of Standard Oil was beneficial is a matter of some controversy. Some economists believe that Standard Oil was not a monopoly, and also argue that the intense free market competition resulted in cheaper oil prices and more diverse petroleum products. Critics claimed that success in meeting consumer needs was driving other companies out of the market who were not as successful. An example of this thinking was given in 1890 when Rep. William Mason, arguing in favor of the Sherman Antitrust Act, said: "trusts have made products cheaper, have reduced prices; but if the price of oil, for instance, were reduced to one cent a barrel, it would not right the wrong done to people of this country by the trusts which have destroyed legitimate competition and driven honest men from legitimate business enterprise".
The Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits the restraint of trade. Defenders of Standard Oil insist that the company did not restrain trade; they were simply superior competitors. The federal courts ruled otherwise.
Some economic historians have observed that Standard Oil was in the process of losing its monopoly at the time of its breakup in 1911. Although Standard had 90 percent of American refining capacity in 1880, by 1911 that had shrunk to between 60 and 65 percent, due to the expansion in capacity by competitors.:79 Numerous regional competitors (such as Pure Oil in the East, Texaco and Gulf Oil in the Gulf Coast, Cities Service and Sun in the Midcontinent, Union in California, and Shell overseas) had organized themselves into competitive vertically integrated oil companies, the industry structure pioneered years earlier by Standard itself. In addition, demand for petroleum products was increasing more rapidly than the ability of Standard to expand. The result was that although in 1911 Standard still controlled most production in the older regions of the Appalachian Basin (78 percent share, down from 92 percent in 1880), Lima-Indiana (90 percent, down from 95 percent in 1906), and the Illinois Basin (83 percent, down from 100 percent in 1906), its share was much lower in the rapidly expanding new regions that would dominate U.S. oil production in the 20th century. In 1911 Standard controlled only 44 percent of production in the Midcontinent, 29 percent in California, and 10 percent on the Gulf Coast.
Some analysts argue that the breakup was beneficial to consumers in the long run, and no one has ever proposed that Standard Oil be reassembled in pre-1911 form. ExxonMobil, however, does represent a substantial part of the original company.
Since the breakup of Standard Oil, several companies, such as General Motors and Microsoft, have come under antitrust investigation for being inherently too large for market competition; however, most of them remained together. The only company since the breakup of Standard Oil that was divided into parts like Standard Oil was AT&T, which after decades as a regulated natural monopoly, was forced to divest itself of the Bell System in 1984.
The successor companies from Standard Oil's breakup form the core of today's US oil industry. (Several of these companies were considered among the Seven Sisters who dominated the industry worldwide for much of the 20th century.) They include:
|Standard Oil Co. Inc|
The "Seven Sisters"
|The Ohio Oil Company|
|The Standard Oil Company |
|Standard Oil of New Jersey|
|Standard Oil of New York|
|Standard Oil of California |
|Standard Oil of Indiana renamed Amoco||Standard Oil of Kentucky|
|Vacuum Oil Company|
|Marathon Petroleum||BP plc||ExxonMobil||Chevron|
Other Standard Oil spin-offs:
Other companies divested in the 1911 breakup:
Note: Standard Oil of Colorado was not a successor company; the name was used to capitalize on the Standard Oil brand in the 1930s. Standard Oil of Connecticut is a fuel oil marketer not related to the Rockefeller companies.
Of the 34 "Baby Standards", 11 were given rights to the Standard Oil name, based on the state they were in. Conoco and Atlantic elected to use their respective names instead of the Standard name, and their rights would be claimed by other companies.
By the 1980s, most companies were using their individual brand names instead of the Standard name, with Amoco being the last one to have widespread use of the "Standard" name, as it gave Midwestern owners the option of using the Amoco name or Standard.
Three supermajor companies now own the rights to the Standard name in the United States: ExxonMobil, Chevron Corp., and BP. BP acquired its rights through acquiring Standard Oil of Ohio and Amoco, and has a small handful of stations in the Midwestern United States using the Standard name. Likewise, BP continues to sell marine fuel under the Sohio brand at various marinas throughout Ohio. ExxonMobil keeps the Esso trademark alive at stations that sell diesel fuel by selling "Esso Diesel" displayed on the pumps. ExxonMobil has full international rights to the Standard name, and continues to use the Esso name overseas and in Canada. To protect its trademark Chevron has one station in each state it owns the rights to branded as Standard. Some of its Standard-branded stations have a mix of some signs that say Standard and some signs that say Chevron. Over time, Chevron has changed which station in a given state is the Standard station.
The 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill occurred when two Standard Oil Company of California tankers, the Arizona Standard and the Oregon Standard, collided on January 19, 1971, in the San Francisco Bay. The resulting 800,000 gallon spill, the largest in Bay Area history, threatened sensitive natural habitats both inside and outside the bay, including the Bolinas Lagoon, and contributed to the growth of activism against pollution, after thousands of bay area residents volunteered to clean up beaches and rescue oil soaked birds. A number of environmental organizations had their origins in the spill cleanup. Standard Oil spent more than $1 million in the clean-up.225 Bush Street
225 Bush Street, originally known as the Standard Oil Building, is a 328-foot (100 m), 25-floor office building in the financial district of San Francisco. The building includes 21 floors of office space, 1 floor of retail, 1 storage floor and 2 basement levels including the garage. It was the tallest building in the city from its completion in 1922 until 1925.
It contains approximately 560,000 sq ft (52,000 m2) of rentable space. It is a historic building, serving as the headquarters for Standard Oil of California, now Chevron, for over half a century. Architect George W. Kelham designed the Standard Oil Building for John D. Rockefeller and modeled it on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Building. Composed of two buildings, the old wing was built in the 1920s. The new wing was built in the 1950s.26 Broadway
26 Broadway, also known as the Standard Oil Building, is a 31-story, 520-foot-tall (160 m) landmarked office building located at Bowling Green in the Financial District of New York City. As of 2017, the structure is the 220th tallest building in New York City and the 650th tallest building in the United States.
26 Broadway was also the home address in the late 18th century of Alexander Hamilton, his wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, and their family.Amoco
Amoco Corporation, originally Standard Oil Company (Indiana), is a global chemical and oil company that was founded in 1889 around a refinery located in Whiting, Indiana, United States.
It later absorbed the American Oil Company, founded in Baltimore in 1910 and incorporated in 1922 by Louis Blaustein and his son Jacob. Amoco merged with British Petroleum in December 1998, forming BP Amoco. Shortly after the merger, Amoco stations began a rebranding that saw the stations change their names to the BP marque while continuing to sell Amoco-branded fuel. Eventually all traces of the Amoco brand name were eliminated and the stations adopted the BP branding permanently, although Amoco's grade naming system is still in use.
The firm's innovations included two essential parts of the modern industry, the gasoline tanker truck and the drive-through filling station. Its headquarters were located in the Amoco Building (now the Aon Center) in Chicago, Illinois.In October 2017, BP revealed that it will be reintroducing the Amoco name to select US markets. As of August 2018, there are currently 37 new Amoco locations in the states of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Illinois, with more locations opening soon in more states.Aon Center (Chicago)
The Aon Center (200 East Randolph Street, formerly Amoco Building) is a modern supertall skyscraper in the Chicago Loop, Chicago, Illinois, United States, designed by architect firms Edward Durell Stone and The Perkins and Will partnership, and completed in 1974 as the Standard Oil Building. With 83 floors and a height of 1,136 feet (346 m), it is the third tallest building in Chicago, surpassed in height by the Willis Tower, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower.
The building is managed by Jones Lang LaSalle, which is also headquartered in the building. Aon Center formerly had the world headquarters of Aon and Amoco. Aon's US operations are still headquartered here. The building is also the co-headquarters of Kraft Heinz.Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation. One of the successor companies of Standard Oil, it is headquartered in San Ramon, California, and active in more than 180 countries. Chevron is engaged in every aspect of the oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy industries, including hydrocarbon exploration and production; refining, marketing and transport; chemicals manufacturing and sales; and power generation. Chevron is one of the world's largest oil companies; as of 2017, it ranked nineteenth in the Fortune 500 list of the top US closely held and public corporations and sixteenth on the Fortune Global 500 list of the top 500 corporations worldwide. It was also one of the Seven Sisters that dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the 1970s.
Chevron's downstream operations manufacture and sell products such as fuels, lubricants, additives and petrochemicals. The company's most significant areas of operations are the west coast of North America, the U.S. Gulf Coast, Southeast Asia, South Korea, Australia and South Africa. In 2010, Chevron sold an average 3.1 million barrels per day (490×103 m3/d) of refined products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.Esso
Esso (stylized as Ɛsso) is a trading name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. The company began as Standard Oil of New Jersey following the breakup of Standard Oil. In 1972, the name was largely replaced in the U.S. by the Exxon brand after the company bought Humble Oil, while the Esso name remained widely used elsewhere.
In most of the world, the Esso brand and the Mobil brand are the primary brand names of ExxonMobil, with the Exxon brand name in use only in the United States alongside Mobil.Exxon
Exxon is the former brand name of oil and natural resources company Exxon Corporation, prior to 1972 known as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. In 1999, Exxon Corporation merged with Mobil to form ExxonMobil. The Exxon brand is still used by ExxonMobil's downstream operations as a brand for certain gas stations, motor fuel and related products (the highest concentration of which are located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states). Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was one of the Seven Sisters that dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the 1970s.ExxonMobil
Exxon Mobil Corporation, doing business as ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company, and was formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon (formerly the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey) and Mobil (formerly the Standard Oil Company of New York). ExxonMobil's primary brands are Exxon, Mobil, Esso, and ExxonMobil Chemical.The world's second largest company by revenue, ExxonMobil from 1996 to 2017 varied from the first to sixth largest publicly traded company by market capitalization. The company was ranked ninth globally in the Forbes Global 2000 list in 2016. ExxonMobil was the tenth most profitable company in the Fortune 500 in 2017. As of 2018, the company ranked second in the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.ExxonMobil is one of the largest of the world's Big Oil companies. As of 2007, it had daily production of 3.921 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent); but significantly smaller than a number of national companies. In 2008, this was approximately 3% of world production, which is less than several of the largest state-owned petroleum companies. When ranked by oil and gas reserves, it is 14th in the world—with less than 1% of the total. ExxonMobil's reserves were 20 billion BOE at the end of 2016 and the 2007 rates of production were expected to last more than 14 years. With 37 oil refineries in 21 countries constituting a combined daily refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels (1,000,000 m3), ExxonMobil is the largest refiner in the world, a title that was also associated with Standard Oil since its incorporation in 1870.ExxonMobil has been criticized for its slow response to cleanup efforts after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, widely considered to be one of the world's worst oil spills in terms of damage to the environment. ExxonMobil has a history of lobbying for climate change denial and against the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The company has also been the target of accusations of improperly dealing with human rights issues, influence on American foreign policy, and its impact on the future of nations.General Drafting
General Drafting Corporation of Convent Station, New Jersey, founded by Otto G. Lindberg in 1909, was one of the "Big Three" road map publishers from 1930 to 1970, along with H.M. Gousha and Rand McNally. Unlike the other two, General Drafting did not sell its maps to a variety of smaller customers, but was the exclusive publisher of maps for Standard Oil of New Jersey, later Esso and Exxon. They also published maps for Standard Oil Company of Kentucky a.k.a. KYSO. KYSO later merged with Standard Oil Company of California better known as Chevron and SOCAL primarily used The H.M. Gousha company for their roadmaps.
Lindberg was a young immigrant from Finland and, with a borrowed drafting board and a $500.00 loan from his father, the then 23-yr. old started the business of "any and all general draughting" at 170 Broadway in NYC in 1909. As the firm started to prosper, the company secured its first contract from the American Automobile Association for "road maps," a harbinger of the future for the small company in 1911. In 1914, Lindberg incorporated and became the first Chairman of the Board, a position he would hold until his death in 1968.
In 1923, Lindberg persuaded Standard Oil of New Jersey to let him draw the "best" road map of the state that they had ever seen, for free distribution. Standard was sufficiently impressed with the product to contract with General Drafting to make all their road maps—a relationship that lasted for another six decades. The company's cartography was generally regarded as "an outstandingly attractive road map design, unexcelled in the U.S."When oil companies stopped providing free maps, General Drafting tried to expand into retail map production, and continued to make maps for Exxon to sell; but its fortunes declined, and in 1992 it was purchased by Langenscheidt and absorbed into the American Map Company; its state maps became the "Travelvision" lineup for that company.Henry Flagler
Henry Morrison Flagler (January 2, 1830 – May 20, 1913) was an American industrialist and a founder of Standard Oil, first based in Ohio. He was also a key figure in the development of the Atlantic coast of Florida and founder of what became the Florida East Coast Railway. He is known as the father of Miami and Palm Beach, Florida.Ida Tarbell
Ida Minerva Tarbell (November 5, 1857 – January 6, 1944) was an American writer, investigative journalist, biographer and lecturer. She was one of the leading muckrakers of the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and pioneered investigative journalism. Born in Pennsylvania at the onset of the oil boom, Tarbell is best known for her 1904 book, The History of the Standard Oil Company. The book was published as a series of articles in McClure's Magazine from 1902 to 1904. It has been called a "masterpiece of investigative journalism", by historian J. North Conway, as well as "the single most influential book on business ever published in the United States" by historian Daniel Yergin. The work would contribute to the dissolution of the Standard Oil monopoly and helped usher in the Hepburn Act of 1906, the Mann-Elkins Act, the creation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Clayton Anti-trust Act.
Tarbell also wrote several biographies over the course of her career which spanned 64 years. She wrote biographies on Madame Roland and Napoleon Bonaparte. Tarbell believed that "the Truth and motivations of powerful human beings could be discovered." That Truth, she became convinced, could be conveyed in such a way as "to precipitate meaningful social change." She wrote numerous books and works on Abraham Lincoln including ones that focused on his early life and career. After her exposé on Standard Oil and character study of John D. Rockefeller, she wrote biographies on businessmen Elbert H. Gary, chairman of U.S. Steel, as well as Owen D. Young, president of General Electric.
A prolific writer and lecturer, Tarbell was known for taking complex subjects—the oil industry, tariffs, labor practices—and breaking them down into informative and easy to understand articles. Her articles drove circulation at McClure’s Magazine and The American Magazine and many of her books were popular with the general American public. After a successful career as both writer and editor for McClure’s Magazine, Tarbell left with several other editors to buy and publish The American Magazine. Tarbell also traveled to all then 48 states on the lecture circuit and spoke on subjects including the evils of war, world peace, American politics, trusts, tariffs, labor practices, and women’s issues.
Tarbell took part in professional organizations and served on two Presidential committees. She helped form the Authors’ League (now the Author’s Guild) and was President of the Pen and Brush Club for 30 years. During World War I, she served on the President Woodrow Wilson’s Women’s Committee on the Council of National Defense. After the war, Tarbell served on President Warren G. Harding’s 1921 Unemployment Conference.
Tarbell, who never married, is often considered a feminist by her actions, although she was critical of the women's suffrage movement.John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American oil industry business magnate, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history.Rockefeller was born into a large family in upstate New York and was shaped by his con man father and religious mother. His family moved several times before eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Rockefeller became an assistant bookkeeper at age 16 and went into several business partnerships beginning at age 20, concentrating his business on oil refining. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. He ran it until 1897, and remained its largest shareholder.
Rockefeller's wealth soared as kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, and he became the richest person in the country, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak. Oil was used throughout the country as a light source until the introduction of electricity, and as a fuel after the invention of the automobile. Furthermore, Rockefeller gained enormous influence over the railroad industry which transported his oil around the country. Standard Oil was the first great business trust in the United States. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry. His company and business practices came under criticism, particularly in the writings of author Ida Tarbell.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1911 that Standard Oil must be dismantled for violation of federal anti-trust laws. It was broken up into 34 separate entities which included companies that became ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, and others—some of which still have the highest level of revenue in the world. Individual pieces of the company were worth more than the whole, as shares of these doubled and tripled in value in their early years, and Rockefeller became the country's first billionaire with a fortune worth nearly 2% of the national economy. His peak net worth was estimated at US$409 billion (in 2018 dollars; inflation-adjusted) in 1913. The figure 409 billion assumes a 2% share of US GDP in 2016. His personal wealth, 900 million in 1913, more than 2% of US GDP of 39.1 billion that year was worth 21 billion dollars in 2016 adjusted for inflation (by 1937 the Rockefeller fortune was 1.4 billion or 1.5% of GDP of 92 billion).Rockefeller spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement at his estate in Westchester County, New York, defining the structure of modern philanthropy, along with other key industrialists such as steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy through the creation of foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research and were instrumental in the near-eradication of hookworm and yellow fever in the United States.
Rockefeller was also the founder of the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University and funded the establishment of Central Philippine University in the Philippines. He was a devout Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions. He adhered to total abstinence from alcohol and tobacco throughout his life. For advice, he relied closely on his wife Laura Spelman Rockefeller with whom he had five children. He was a faithful congregant of the Erie Street Baptist Mission Church, taught Sunday school, and served as a trustee, clerk, and occasional janitor. Religion was a guiding force throughout his life and he believed it to be the source of his success. Rockefeller was also considered a supporter of capitalism based on a perspective of social Darwinism, and he was quoted often as saying, "The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest".Mobil
Mobil, previously known as the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, is a major American oil company that merged with Exxon in 1999 to form a parent company called ExxonMobil. It was previously one of the Seven Sisters that dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s until the 1970s. Today, Mobil continues as a major brand name within the combined company, as well as still being a gas station sometimes paired with its own store or On the Run. The former Mobil headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia, was used as ExxonMobil's downstream headquarters until 2015 when ExxonMobil consolidated employees into a new corporate campus in Spring, Texas.Saudi Aramco
Saudi Aramco (Arabic: أرامكو السعودية ʾArāmkō al-Saʿūdiyyah), officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (formerly Arabian-American Oil Company), is a Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.It is one of the largest companies in the world by revenue, and according to accounts seen by Bloomberg News, the most profitable company in the world. Saudi Aramco has both the world's second-largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 270 billion barrels (4.3×1010 m3), and second-largest daily oil production.Saudi officials have backed an official figure of $2 trillion for Saudi Aramco's value. The company's financial data were leaked in April 2018, and according to Bloomberg's analysts the company could be valued at $1.2 trillion, a significantly lower sum.Saudi Aramco operates the world's largest single hydrocarbon network, the Master Gas System. Its 2013 crude oil production total was 3.4 billion barrels (540,000,000 m3), and it manages over one hundred oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, including 288.4 trillion standard cubic feet (scf) of natural gas reserves. Saudi Aramco operates the Ghawar Field, the world's largest onshore oil field, and the Safaniya Field, the world's largest offshore oil field.On 09 April 2019, Aramco has raised $12 billion of bonds. Its first international bond issue has received more than $100 billion in orders from foreign investors which breaks all records for a bond issue by an emerging market entity.Seven Sisters (oil companies)
"Seven Sisters" was a common term for the seven transnational oil companies of the "Consortium for Iran" oligopoly or cartel, which dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s. Alluding to the seven mythological Pleiades sisters fathered by the titan Atlas, the business usage was popularized in the 1950s by businessman Enrico Mattei, then-head of the Italian state oil company Eni. The industry group consisted of:
Anglo-Iranian (started as Anglo-Persian) Oil Company (now BP)
Gulf Oil (later part of Chevron)
Royal Dutch Shell
Standard Oil Company of California (SoCal, now Chevron)
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (Esso, later Exxon, now part of ExxonMobil)
Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony, later Mobil, also now part of ExxonMobil)
Texaco (later merged into Chevron)Preceding the 1973 oil crisis, the Seven Sisters controlled around 85 per cent of the world's petroleum reserves. Since then, industry dominance has shifted to the OPEC cartel and state-owned oil and gas companies in emerging-market economies, such as Saudi Aramco, Gazprom (Russia), China National Petroleum Corporation, National Iranian Oil Company, PDVSA (Venezuela), Petrobras (Brazil), and Petronas (Malaysia). In 2007, the Financial Times called these "the new Seven Sisters".According to consulting firm PFC Energy, by 2012 only 7% of the world's known oil reserves were in countries that allowed private international companies free rein. Fully 65% were in the hands of state-owned companies.Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States
Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States found Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey guilty of monopolizing the petroleum industry through a series of abusive and anticompetitive actions. The Court's remedy was to divide Standard Oil into several geographically separate and eventually competing firms.Standard Oil of Ohio
Standard Oil of Ohio or Sohio was an American oil company, and the earliest component of the original Standard Oil company founded by John D. Rockefeller. Sohio was acquired by British Petroleum, now called BP.
Sohio continued as a separate entity after the antitrust breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. It operated service stations under the "Sohio" brand name in Ohio. In other states, it used the "Boron" brand name instead, but with an otherwise-similar logo. Wallace Trevor Holliday was President of the company from 1928 to 1949 and Chairman of the Board from 1949 until his death on November 7, 1950.
In 1968, Sohio's CEO, Charlie Spahr, arranged a merger with BP. It was announced as Sohio's acquisition of BP's North American interests. However, the contract included a stipulation that BP would assume majority interest when Sohio's share of production from the Prudhoe Bay oilfield in Alaska reached 600,000 barrels per day (95,000 m3/d). That occurred in 1978, and BP then took control of Sohio. By 1991, BP had rebranded all Sohio-owned stations as BP, except for some marine fuel outlets.William Rockefeller
William Avery Rockefeller, Jr. (May 31, 1841 – June 24, 1922) was an American businessman and financier. He was a co-founder of Standard Oil along with his older brother John Davison Rockefeller (1839–1937). He was also a prominent member of the Rockefeller family.