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Amoco
Fate Acquired by BP
Founded 1889
Defunct 2001
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Industry Oil

Amoco Corporation, originally Standard Oil Company (Indiana), was a global chemical and oil company, founded in 1889 around a refinery located in Whiting, Indiana. It later absorbed the American Oil Company founded in Baltimore in 1910 and incorporated in 1922 by Louis Blaustein and his son Jacob. Amoco is now part of BP. The firm's innovations included two essential parts of the modern industry- the gasoline tanker truck and the drive-through filling station. [1]

Contents

Overview

Standard Oil (Indiana) was formed in 1889 by John D. Rockefeller as part of the Standard Oil trust. In 1910, with the rise in popularity of the automobile, Indiana Standard decided to specialize in providing gasoline to everyday families and their cars. In 1911, the year it became independent from the Standard Oil trust, the company sold 88% of the gasoline and kerosene sold in the midwest. In 1912 it opened its first gas service station in Minneapolis, Minnesota

When the Standard Oil Trust was broken up in 1911, Indiana Standard was assigned marketing territory covering most of the Midwestern United States including Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas plus the northern half of Missouri. It had the exclusive rights to use the Standard name in the region. It purchased the Dixie Oil Company of Louisiana in 1919 and began investing in other oil companies outside its Standard marketing territory.

In 1923 the Blausteins sold a half interest in American Oil to the Pan American Petroleum & Transport company in exchange for a guaranteed supply of oil. Before this deal, Amoco was forced to depend on Standard Oil of New Jersey, a competitor, for its supplies. Standard Oil of Indiana acquired Pan American in 1925, beginning John Rockefeller's association with the Amoco name. [2]

In the 1920s and 30s Indiana Standard opened up dozens more refining and oil-drilling facilities. Combined with a new oil-refining process, Indiana Standard created its exploration and production business, Stanolind, in 1931. In the following years, a period of intense exploration and search for oil-rich fields ensued; the company drilled over 1000 wells in 1937 alone.

Lead-free gasoline

While most oil companies were switching to leaded gasolines en masse during the mid-to-late 1920s, American Oil chose to continue marketing its premium-grade "Amoco-Gas" (later Amoco Super-Premium) as a lead-free gasoline by using aromatics rather than tetraethyl lead to increase octane levels - decades before the environmental movement of the early 1970s led to more stringent auto emission controls which ultimately mandated the universal phase out of leaded gasoline. The "Amoco" lead-free gasoline was sold at American's stations in the eastern and southern U.S. alongside American Regular gasoline, which was a leaded fuel. Lead free Amoco was introduced in the Indiana Standard marketing area in 1970.[3] The Red Crown Regular and White Crown Premium gasolines marketed by parent company Standard Oil (Indiana) in its prime marketing area in the Midwest before 1961 also contained lead.

World War II

World War II followed this period of exploration; Indiana Standard participated in the war effort, discovering new means of refinement and even a way of producing TNT more quickly and easily. In addition, Indiana Standard significantly contributed to the aviation and land gasoline needed for the Allied armies. Also, during the war Indiana Standard created its chemical division, formed from the merger of the Pan American Chemicals Company and the Indoil Chemical Company.

Post-war

In the late 1940s, after World War II, Indiana Standard returned to focusing on domestic oil refinement and advancement. In 1947 Indiana Standard was the first company to drill off-shore, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in 1948 Indiana Standard invented Hydrafrac, a hydraulic well fracturing process that increased oil production worldwide. Initially the Hydrafrac process was licensed exclusively to Halliburton.

In 1956, the Pan-Am stations in the southeastern U.S. were rebranded Amoco stations.

In 1960, Indiana Standard reorganized its marketing giving its American Oil Company unit responsibility for its retail operations nationwide under the Standard name inside the Indiana Standard marketing area (Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming) and under the American name outside that region. Both brands shared the same torch and oval logo for easy identification nationwide. The Utoco name used in Indiana Standard's southwestern region was replaced by the American name. The Amoco name continued to be used outside the U.S. and on certain brands of American Oil products.

Soon after, the company began to expand. With an exploration office in Canada, Indiana Standard was now an international gas company. Indiana Standard created several new plants and claimed various new oil fields in this time period, as the company prospered in the post-war boom. By 1971, all the divisions of Indiana Standard bore the Amoco name including American Oil which was renamed Amoco Oil with American stations renamed Amoco stations. By 1975, Amoco began phasing in the Amoco name in the old Indiana Standard sales territory. Standard Oil Company (Indiana) was officially renamed Amoco Corporation in 1985.[4]

Chemical production

In the late 1950s and early 60s, Indiana Standard again led the way with scientific and technological discoveries. Indiana Standard discovered PTA, a chemical for polyester fiber production. In 1968, following that discovery, Indiana Standard acquired the Avisun Corporation and Patchogue-Plymouth, forming the Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Company.

Global expansion

In the following decades, Amoco expanded globally, creating plants, oil wells, or markets in over 30 countries, including Australia, Britain, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, Norway, Venezuela, Russia, China, Trinidad and Tobago, and Egypt. In addition, the company also acquired a division of Tenneco Oil Company and Dome Petroleum Company, becoming one of the world's largest oil companies.

Sponsorship

In 1976 Amoco (under the "Standard" name) sponsored the Barney Oldfield Speedway attraction at Marriott's Great America theme park in Gurnee, Illinois. Although the sponsorship deal ended when Marriott sold the park to Six Flags in 1985, the Standard logo can still be seen on all of the Barney Oldfield Speedway (now Great America Raceway) cars.

Dave Blaney drove a NASCAR Winston Cup #93 Pontiac Grand Prix under Amoco sponsorship from 1997 until the brand's demise in 2001.

Accidents

On March 16, 1978, the very large crude carrier Amoco Cadiz ran ashore at Brittany, France, causing one of the largest oil spills in history. More than a decade later, Amoco was ordered to pay $120 million in damages and restitution to France.

On October 21, 1980, an explosion at an Amoco plant in New Castle, Delaware killed six people, caused $46 million in property damage, and eventually led to the loss of 300 jobs. [2]

Merger with BP

An abandoned Amoco station.
A BP in Lake Villa, Illinois using the Amoco name.

On August 11, 1998, Amoco announced it would merge with British Petroleum (BP) in the world's largest industrial merger. Originally, the plan was for all US BP service stations to be converted to Amoco while all overseas Amoco service stations were to be converted to BP. But by 2001 BP announced that all Amoco service stations would either be closed or renamed to BP service stations, including the remaining stations still bearing the "Standard" name. However, BP rebranded its gas as "Amoco Fuels", including "Amoco Ultimate". By 2008, the "Amoco Fuels" brand had been mostly discontinued in favor of "BP Gasoline with Invigorate", but the "Amoco Ultimate" name remains on the company's highest octane gasoline.

Few BP stations continue operation under the name Amoco, however, most were either converted to BP, some Amoco-style stations were demolished and replaced with BP-style stations, abandoned, or switched to competitor brands.

Original Standard Oil of Indiana "torch & oval" logo used from 1946 to 1960.

The first Indiana Standard logo was unveiled in 1926 after a competition. The logo featured a circle, representing strength, stability, and dependability, with the words "Standard Oil Company (Indiana)" in red. The inner circle represents the cycle of service to customers. The word "Service" was written in the inside of the circles. In addition, the logo also had a torch with a flame, symbolizing progress. This logo appeared on gas station buildings. The roadside sign was a blue rectangle saying "STANDARD SERVICE" in white block letters.

Concurrently, American Oil introduced in 1932 a logo which was the first to bear the name "Amoco". It featured an ellipse divided into three sections horizontally; the top and bottom were red, and the middle had a black background with white lettering. This logo was used in the northeastern U.S.

A new logo was developed by Indiana Standard and introduced in 1946. It combined the Standard torch with the Amoco oval. The oval colors were, from top to bottom, red, white, and blue. The new logo was called the "Torch and Oval (T&O)." In parts of the country where the company could not use the name "Standard", the logo read "Utoco" or "Pan-Am". When the "Pan-Am" name was replaced by "Amoco", it marked the first time the torch and oval was used with the Amoco name. The red and black logo continued to be used in the northeast and maps distributed by Amoco in the late 1950s showed both logos.

In 1960, the torch and oval was redesigned with a flatter oval and a more contemporary torch design with the logo bearing the Standard or American name in the U.S. and the Amoco name outside the U.S.

1960s Standard logo. Logo bore the "AMERICAN" name outside the Indiana Standard marketing area.

The next logo enhanced the previous one. It featured a blue bottom and a sleeker-looking torch. In addition, the word "Standard" become italicized and thicker. This was used by Midwestern station owners who had the option of using the Amoco name (more familiar in the East and South) or using the more familiar Standard name. Owners used it up until they were converted to BP or another brand.

Standard logo with slogan.

The final Amoco logo simply changed the name on the logo to "Amoco". The logo featured the familiar torch and divided ellipse.

Currently, BP still employs the Amoco name, albeit under another logo. BP currently uses the logo under the main BP helios logo. The italicized word "Amoco" is shown after red, white, and blue horizontal stripes, taken from the divided ellipse of the former Amoco logo. This logo existed prior to the acquisition, and was used primarily on pumps and service station canopies. Since the merger, the black background has been replaced with green, to symbolize the new parent company.

Although a few Amoco stations still use their former logo, most have since been converted to the BP livery. Most surviving BP stations are kept so BP can continue holding the trademarks for Amoco and Standard.

In May 2008, United States BP stations mostly discontinued use of the "Amoco Fuels" logo as BP introduced its new brand of fuel, "BP Gasoline with Invigorate". The only remaining usage of the Amoco name is the brand of BP's highest grade, 93-octane "Amoco Ultimate".

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