Our history in Europe

Over the last 135 years, ExxonMobil has evolved from a regional marketer of kerosene in the U.S. to the largest publicly traded petroleum and petrochemical enterprise in the world.

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Our history in Europe

Our history of operating in Europe is more than a century long. But our story starts across the Atlantic. The corporate entities that would one day become Exxon and Mobil share a common ancestry - the Standard Oil Trust formed by John D Rockefeller in 1882.  Under this umbrella, two organizations were formed - the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the Standard Oil Company of New York. Jersey Standard and Socony, as they were commonly known, were the predecessors of Exxon and Mobil.

In 1885, Vacuum Oil, a part of the Standard Oil Trust, opened a sales office in Liverpool, in the United Kingdom. Vacuum Oil sold harness oil, steam cylinder oil, spindle oil and greases, and first used the trademark Mobiloil in 1899. Esso began its life in the UK in 1888 as the Anglo-American Oil company, and in 1890 Rockefeller and a group of ship merchants in Bremen created the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum-Gesellschaft (DAPG) as a joint venture, which became our first affiliate company in Germany.

In 1891, the American Petroleum Company, a joint venture between Standard Oil and five Belgian and Dutch trading companies, was created in the Netherlands, and the same year the Società Italo Americana pel Petrolio (SIAP) was established in Venice, Italy. The 1890s saw the further establishment of Esso in Norway in 1893 (the tiger first appeared as a mascot for the Esso brand in Norway around the turn of the 20th century), and in 1899 the Vacuum Oil Company SAF was established in France (which is the origin of Mobil Oil in France).

Europe also play an important role in some of the key milestones that marked our development into a manufacturer of the products that drive modern transportation, power cities, lubricate industry and provide petrochemical building blocks that lead to thousands of consumer goods. In 1920, for example, the Atlantic Gulf & West Indies Oil Company built a small refinery at Fawley, UK – the forerunner of the Esso refinery. A year later, the Anglo-American Oil Company opened the UK’s first service station in Paddington, London, offering 24-hour service. And in 1928, Amelia Earhart used Mobiloil to protect Friendship when she made her historic solo flight across the Atlantic. Thirty years later, Pan American Airways flew its first trans-Atlantic Boeing 707 flight from New York to London, which was fueled by Mobil aviation fuel. In 1975, Mobil participated in the completion of Beryl A, the world's first concrete production platform; this 50-story-high structure was the prototype for other concrete deepwater facilities operating in the North Sea.

On November 30, 1999, Exxon and Mobil joined to form Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Read a more detailed history about Exxon and Mobil in the 20th century on our corporate website.

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