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History of Chevron Corporation

on January 21, 2022
(Standard Oil Company of California gas station)

       In September 1876, oil driller Alex Mentry struck oil at Pico No. 4 in Pico Canyon, California.  This set off a new “gold rush” in search of oil, the “black gold.”  At the time, Mentry worked for California Star Oil.  A few years later, on September 10, 1879, Pacific Coast Oil Company, which had incorporated in San Francisco, California on February 19, 1879, acquired California Star Oil – and this is where the history of Chevron begins (Chevron, 2020).

       Pacific Coast built the largest refinery in California at Point Alameda on San Francisco Bay, with the capacity to produce 600 barrels a day.  The company built a pipeline from Pico Canyon to the Southern Pacific Railroad train station at Elayon in southern California. By 1895, they had acquired the first steel tanker in California, the George Loomis, which could hold 6,500 barrels of crude oil (Chevron, 2020).

       In 1878, competition appeared in the form of Standard Oil Company (Iowa).  Known for its marketing skills, quality products, effective advertising campaigns, and rich financial backing, it set up shop in San Francisco, California with the goal of dominating the West Coast’s oil market.  By 1885, Standard Oil had distribution centers throughout the West Coast.  By contrast, Pacific Coast Oil Company was struggling to survive. Finally, in 1900, Standard Oil purchased the struggling company in order to increase its own production, transportation, and refining operations. In 1906, consolidation between Pacific Coast Oil and Standard Oil (Iowa) produced a new company – Standard Oil of California (Chevron, 2020).

       In 1911, Standard Oil of California established the California Natural Gas Company at its El Segundo plant in southern California in order to explore for natural gas in the San Joaquin Valley.  A second pipeline was built, linking the Richmond refinery, which was built in 1902, and the Kern River Field (Chevron, 2020).

       In an effort to conserve energy resources, the Starke gas trap – invented by engineer C.C. Scharpenberg and geologist Eric Starke — was invented and implemented for capturing natural gas from a well (Chevron, 2020).

       Between 1912 and 1919, Standard Oil of California expanded its operations until it saturated the market in a five-state area.  “Petroleum and natural gas are by far the major fuels used on the Pacific Coast” (Miller, 1936, p. 86).  But its market share had dropped by 1926 due to increased competition.  With the re-opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, Standard Oil of California ventured into the international market and expanded its market share in the Eastern United States and Europe (Chevron, 2020).  Natural gas use, however, continued to grow, from 72,000 cubic feet consumed on the West Coast in 1921 to 258,000 cubic feet consumed in 1933 (Miller, 1936, p. 86).

       Standard Oil of California continued to expand its operations through subsidiaries, mergers, and partnerships.  It opened operations in the Middle East, Canada, Mexico, and Central America.  In September 1950, the company completed the Trans-Arabian Pipeline.  Company revenues reached 1 billion dollars in 1951.  A merger with Standard Oil of Kentucky in 1961 expanded its markets in five southeastern states.  In 1977, Chevron USA was formed with the merger of six domestic oil and gas operations.  In 1979, Chevron celebrated 100 years of operations (Chevron, 2020).

       In March 1984, Chevron merged with Gulf Oil Corporation.  This merger increased their reserves of oil, gas, and natural gas liquids.  In the 1990s, Chevron developed the Escruvos

Natural Gas project in Nigeria, converting natural gas to liquids.  In 1996, “Chevron transferred its natural gas gathering, operating, and marketing operation to NGC Corporation (later Dynergy) in exchange for a roughly 25% equity stake in NGC” (Chevron, 2020). Through its merger with Texaco, Chevron acquired 11 million oil-equivalents of natural gas reserves.  Using 3-D imaging signals, Chevron discovered one of the largest crude oil and natural gas fields in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in May 2009.  In 2005, Chevron changed its name to Chevron Corporation, acquired Unocal, and increased its natural gas reserves by 15 per cent.  The Gorgon Project and Wheatstone Project in Western Australia are boosting Chevron’s liquefied natural gas reserves. Gorgon, which will supply the Asia-Pacific market, had a daily production of 2.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 6,000 barrels of condensate in 2019.  Production is projected to last 40 or more years, with 15.6 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas produced per year (Chevron, 2020).

       “Chevron’s development of oil and natural gas from shale and tight rock formations has intensified since the company entered the Marcellus Shale through its acquisition of Atlas Energy in 2011” (Chevron, 2020).  The company’s policy of partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions has paid off handsomely for its bottom line and future success.

       Likewise, experts say that energy demand could increase by 33% by the year 2040, making all sources of energy important: natural gas, crude oil, coal, renewables, and nuclear (Chevron, 2020).  California alone “produced more than 200 million cubic feet of natural gas in 2017 used for heating and cooking in homes and businesses and to generate electricity” (Powering California, 2019).  Chevron has expanded into geothermal, solar, wind, biofuel, fuel cells, and hydrogen energy.  It recently invested in Carbon Clean Solutions, a company which is developing technology that “removes carbon dioxide at a price of $30.00 per ton” (Houston Chronicle, 2020.)  The prototype is expected to come out in 2021.

       The demand for natural gas and liquefied natural gas has intensified as companies and consumers look for cleaner, cheaper sources of energy.  Liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be easily shipped and stored because cooling the gas at temperatures of -260 degrees Fahrenheit shrinks the gas into 600 times smaller its normal volume.  LNG can be re-gasified and transmitted through natural gas pipelines to power plants fueled by natural gas, as well as industrial, residential and commercial consumers.  Markets for both natural gas and LNG have increased in the U.S. since 2007, and Asian countries are demanding more imported product (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2020).  Chevron Shipping Company has a large fleet of crude oil tankers and LNG carriers to meet this demand (Chevron, 2020).

       Chevron has crude oil and natural gas fields in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. In 2018, they produced 651 million cubic feet of natural gas and 77,000 barrels of natural gas liquids (NGL).  In 2018, Chevron’s holdings in the Gulf of Mexico produced 105 million cubic feet of natural gas and 13,000 barrels of NGLs. Its Jack and St. Malo fields produced 139,000 barrels of liquids and 21 million cubic feet of natural gas. Its Big Foot Project produced 25 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Its Tahiti field in the Gulf produced 22 million cubic feet of natural gas and 3,000 barrels of NGLs.  Its Mad Dog Field yielded 8,000 barrels of liquids and 1 million cubic feet of natural gas.  The Stampede Field produced 4 million cubic feet of natural gas. In California, 25 million cubic feet of natural gas and 400 barrels of NGLs were produced.  In the Appalachian Basin, 240 million cubic feet of natural gas, 4,000 barrels of NGLs, and 1,000 barrels of condensate were produced (Chevron, 2020).

       “The Chevron Pipe Line Company transports crude oil, refined petroleum products, liquefied petroleum (LPG), natural gas, NGLs, and chemicals within the U.S.” (Chevron, 2020).  It manages pipelines for Chevron Phillips Chemical and has financial interests in other U.S. and international pipelines.  Chevron Power and Energy Management Company handles gas-fired and renewable energy power generation.  Cogeneration facilities fueled by natural gas produce electricity and steam and re-use recovered waste heat to optimize oil operations.  Chevron’s Supply and Trading branches in Houston, Texas, London, Singapore, and San Ramon, California provide support for crude oil and natural gas production operations, refining, and marketing. Approximately 5 million barrels of liquids and 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas are traded on the commodities exchange every day.  Chevron’s Gas Supply and Trading group “markets and manages transportation for Chevron’s equity natural gas production.  It also manages all LPG and NGL trading, including supplying refineries and marketing NGLs produced by Chevron’s refineries and Upstream assets” (Chevron, 2020).

       In order to ensure a qualified work force for the future, Chevron invests in education to teach high school students science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  Geologists, chemists, IT specialists, healthcare workers, engineers, and other specialists working for Chevron must be experienced professionals in their fields.  They actively encourage girls to become proficient in STEM.  And they support programs to help low-income men and women get the skills they need to get high-paying jobs in the global energy industry (Chevron, 2020).

       More than 100 years later, Chevron is exploring, researching, developing, and utilizing new technologies in order to meet increasing demands for energy.  It continues to be a leader in the global energy industry.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

December 16, 2020

Copyright 2020-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Chevron. (2020). History: see where we’ve been and where we’re going. Retrieved from


Chevron. (2020). Operations: driving human progress. Retrieved from


Chevron. (2020). Project portfolio: delivering energy worldwide. Retrieved from


Houston Chronicle. (2020). Chevron invests in carbon capture technology company. Retrieved

       from https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Chevron-invests-in-carbon-


Miller, W. (1936). Pacific Coast Oil and Natural Gas. Economic Geography, 12 (1), 86-90.

       doi: 10.2307/140266.

Powering California. (2019). The history of oil and natural gas in california. Retrieved from


U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2020). Natural gas explained. Retrieved from


6 responses to “History of Chevron Corporation

  1. […] History of Chevron Corporation — Dawn Pisturino’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fgsjr2015 says:

    Interesting article. … Now, the industry and fossil-fuel friendly governments can tell when a very large portion of the populace has been too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family, and the continuing COVID-19 virus variants — all while on insufficient income — to criticize them for whatever environmental damage their policies cause/allow, particularly when not immediately observable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. balladeer says:

    You lay these out very nicely!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rulookingforjesus says:

    Great post

    Liked by 1 person

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