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Dan's SOHIO Timeline

History of Sohio

A great Ohio institution is built and destroyed

(Caution! see the legal stuff)

1870 The Standard Oil Company is founded in Cleveland, Ohio by John D. Rockefeller.

1875-1878 Rockefeller acquires control of 80% of the total US refining capacity through alliances with other refiners.

1881 Standard Oil Trust is formed, combining the interests of 40 companies under a single board of trustees.

1882 An improved trust is formed and headquarters for it are established in New York City.

1890 Sherman Antitrust Act makes monopolistic practices illegal.

1906 US government files suit against Standard Oil with Sherman Anti-Trust legislation

1911 Finding Standard Oil Trust in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the US Supreme Court orders its break-up. The Standard Oil Co., Rockefeller's original corporation, is limited to the Ohio market.

June 1, 1913 Standard Oil opens the World's first automotive service station at Oak and Young Streets in Columbus, Ohio.

1928 Standard Oil Officially adopts the trade name Sohio. The Sohioan, a monthly employee publication, debuts at the start of 1929. Sohio acquires Latonia Refinery (in Kentucky on the Ohio River), initiates a research program, increases advertising and increases refinery production volume.

1930's-1950's Sohio dominates the Ohio refined products market.

1931 Sohio acquires Solar Refining Co. and its only asset, a 10,000 barrel/day refinery in Lima, Ohio. A low-priced grade of gasoline, 'Hi-So Green', is added to the line of X-70 and Sohio Ethyl. Like its predecessor, Red Crown, the new grade is a low octane, straight-run product

1952 Sohio Employee Investment Plan (SEIP) begins

1954 Boron Supreme gasoline is introduced

1955 Premex, a year-round premium motor oil, is introduced

1956 Opens a service station in Newport, Kentucky under the name of the Boron Oil Co., a wholly owned subsidiary. Old Ben Coal is acquired.

1957 Sohio Research develops an innovative single-step method of acrylonitrile production.

1958 X-Tane, Ohio's largest-selling gasoline, is replaced by Extron. Toledo Refinery Integrated Unit, a $40,000,000 expansion project, starts up

1962 Boron Oil Co. launches full-scale entry into Western Pennsylvania market. Total Boron stations in states surrounding Ohio number about 450.

1963 Proudfoot consulting firm is hired to improve productivity. Their recommendations result in the reduction of approx. 1/3 of the non-union workforce. Hiring is reduced to minimum.

1966 #1 Works in Cleveland is shut down. #2 continues to produce some lubricants

1968 Through 3,100 service stations Sohio gasoline sales (in Ohio) exceed those of their nearest 5 competitors combined. Fleet-Wing, a subsidiary, markets through approximately 250 stations, mostly in Ohio. Dan starts work in the Lima Refinery laboratory.

1969 Refinery union workers strike as part of a nationwide strike of most facilities represented by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers trade union. This gives companies the opportunity to test their new 'Emergency Operating Procedure', which temporarily replaces hourly workers with exempt personnel.
Arco acquires Sinclair. To comply with the FTC consent decree, Arco sells some Sinclair properties. BP acquires Sinclair's retail outlets in 16 eastern states from Maine to Florida, over 450 bulk plants, 44 terminals and related transportation facilities, 2 refineries (in Port Arthur, TX and Marcus Hook, PA).
Management announces Sohio will acquire the North American assets of BP under a merger plan that clearly shows a transfer of 51% ownership to BP when Alaskan oil reaches 450,000 BPD. Dan moves to Toledo Refinery laboratory.

1970 Sohio/BP merger consummated but requires sale of 1,000 Sohio service Stations. Alton Whitehouse, who headed the legal team that negotiated the merger, becomes President of Sohio. Sohio expands into hotel, restaurant and truck stop operations.

1970-72 Sohio borrows 35 times its net worth to finance its share of Alaskan Oil project

1972 Standard Oil of New Jersey changes its name to Exxon. Sohio replaces the 'Extron' gasoline brand with 'Octron' to avoid confusion.

1973 OPEC flexes their muscles. Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act enacted.

1974 Planning started for 'PACTEX', a system that would ship Alaskan oil from Long Beach, California to Texas via pipeline

1976 ? Although most refineries settle labor contracts without incident, Toledo Refinery workers strike, partly as a result of negotiating blunders by local management.
Old Ben Coal is 12th largest coal producer in the US
Total corporate employees number  approximately 21,000.

1977 Oil flows from the Alaskan Pipeline, producing unprecedented profits. After nearly 20 years of inactivity, corporate hiring expands dramatically.

1978 Plans for the Sohio Building (an apparent Alton Whitehouse shrine) are announced. In June, BP gains ownership of 55% of Sohio when Sohio's share of Alaska Oil volume reaches 600,000 bbl/day.

1979 PACTEX plans are scuttled- failure blamed on unreasonable environmental restrictions. Rumors circulate that environmental permit application deadlines were missed because a Sohio manager's briefcase was lost during a late-night binge. The individual was subsequently promoted! Simultaneously, federal government considers approval of sending Alaskan oil to Japan in trade for OPEC oil. Some, including California Governor Jerry Brown, suggest this change would eliminate Sohio's interest in PACTEX and was the real reason for the cancellation. Dan moves to Cleveland Home Office in refinery technical support staff.

1980 Toledo Refinery union workers strike. Business Week publishes an article that predicts future problems for Sohio because "the company has ballooned in size so suddenly that it lacks the staff, expertise and investment vehicles to make decisive use of its money".

1981 Corporate coffers overflow. Desperate to invest $2 Billion accumulated in banks, Sohio buys Kennecott Copper, paying twice the current stock value. World copper market collapses. Sohio stock plummets from $140/share to $35/share. Long-time employees, heavily invested in SEIP shares, lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in each of their Sohio portfolio. Only 1 such person admits to selling his shares at the peak, then buying them back at the bottom. He was not popular with his peers!

1982 Activists picket annual meeting and Alton Whitehouse at his country club. [article]

1982-1984 Although attrition has reduced the proportion of experienced personnel who had survived the 1963 massacre, department empire-building swells employment rolls with recent MBA graduates from 'Tier 1' schools, most with little experience. Management Information Systems staff exceeds operating units.
Sohio invests in fine art for new headquarters- commissions a sculpture of a rubber stamp- 48 feet tall!
A plan for decentralization/manpower reduction is started

1984 Gulf Oil merges with Standard Oil of California (SOCAL), with both rebranding as Chevron. To comply with the FTC consent decree, Chevron sells some Gulf properties. Sohio acquires 4,400 Gulf retail outlets (215 company-owned) in eight southeastern states, 30 terminals, a lube blending plant, a coke-calcining plant and Alliance Refinery. Nearly 1,000 employees are retained by Sohio Oil in their existing positions.
After investing nearly $1 Billion , Sohio abandons Mukluk, the largest dry-hole ever, in the Beaufort Sea.
A survey found that Sohio's exploration record was the poorest in the industry, with Sohio displaying the lowest ability to replace ongoing production among oil companies of simitar size.
BP is nervous. Upper management is reorganized. Austerity strikes Sohio! Hiring slows.

1985 Total corporate employees now number approximately 56,700- 2.7 times the number 5 years earlier. Corporate profits down 14.8% [article].
Manpower reduction plans are announced, reducing corporate staff by 450 jobs. A voluntary separation package, based primarily on early retirement benefits, is offered to the few experienced employees left. Dan retires, having seen the inevitable bleak future these actions will produce.
The company writes off the Kennecott Copper investment as part of a $1.15-billion charge against earnings in 1985's fourth quarter.
Standard Oil of Indiana changes its name to Amoco.

1986 BP fires the top 2 Sohio executives, Alton Whitehouse and John Miller. The new chairman and chief executive is Robert B. Horton, 46, a managing director of BP. Frank E. Mosier, 55, a Standard executive vice president, was named president and chief operating officer.
The Sohio Building is completed and Home Office staff relocates, occupying 36 of 45 floors. The Sohio brand name is abandoned, except for gasoline sales in Ohio, based on poor advice from consultants who suggested a return to The Standard Oil Co. brand. The consulting firm, Lippincott & Margulies is still in business. Their website contains this description of their history: "Lippincott was founded in 1943 and is a member of Mercer, Inc., a Marsh & McLennan company. The firm changed its name from Lippincott & Margulies to Lippincott Mercer in 2003 to reflect its expanded capabilities in brand science consulting". Some might suggest they have an identity crisis themselves!
Old Ben Coal, now the 14th largest coal company in the US, reduces staff by one-third and relocates headquarters from Lexington, KY to the new Sohio headquarters building.
Standard Oil Production Co. restructures, causing a reduction of about 550 employees from a total of 3,650 employees.

1987 BP buys the portion of Standard Oil it did not already own, once again reorganizes and assumes control as 'BP America'. As a corporation, Sohio ceases to exist and the Sohio Building becomes the BP Building. Sohio is dead. Long live Sohio! Oil prices collapse.

1988 BP Replaces Robert Horton with James Ross, another executive from Great Britain- Cleveland Plain Dealer Mar. 6, 1988

1989 BP replaces the red, white and blue Sohio ovals, once the most recognized logo in the US, with redesigned BP shields 'with an emphasis on the colour green'.BP gets a single Brand Name Wall Street Journal Jan. 6, 1989

1989 BP sells Kennecott to Rio Tinto

1990 BP sells Old Ben Coal to Zeigler Coal- Zeigler to Horizon Natural Resources

1996 BP sells Marcus Hook Refinery to Tosco, who shut it down due to 'labor problems'.
Premcor acquires Clark Refining and Marketing Inc.
BP sells Lima Refinery to Premcor

1998 BP acquires Amoco (??,000 employees), reuniting two former members of the Standard Trust and restoring red, white and blue ovals!
BP sells the BP Building. Dwindling staff, now occupying 6-8 floors, relocates to the Warrensville Laboratory site.

1999 Exxon and Mobil complete a merger announced in 1998.
BP Amoco moves headquarters to Chicago, Illinois.

2000 BP Amoco acquires Arco (??,000 employees), reuniting with another former member of the Standard Trust. BP drops Amoco from corporate name.
BP sells Alliance Refinery to Tosco.

2001 Phillips Petroleum acquires Tosco.

2002 Phillips Petroleum Company and Conoco Inc. merge to create ConocoPhillips

2004 Horizon Natural Resources is bankrupt, bought by WL Ross and Company, the buyout fund led by Wilbur Ross created a new company, the International Coal Group and the Old Ben Coal Company was liquidated

2005 Valero Energy Corp. acquires Premcor. The acquisition made Valero the largest crude oil refiner in North America
An explosion at the BP Texas City, TX refinery kills 15 employees and injures more than 170 others. BP was charged with criminal violations of federal environmental laws, and has been subject to lawsuits from the victims' families. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration slapped BP with a then-record fine for hundreds of safety violations, and subsequently imposed an even larger fine after claiming that BP had failed to implement safety improvements following the disaster.

2007 Husky Energy purchases Lima Refinery

2008 Husky Energy purchases 50% interest in Toledo Refinery

2010 BP America website details: 5 refineries: Texas City, TX, Carson, CA, Cherry Point, WA, Whiting, IN and Toledo, OH. ; total capacity for processing 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a day.
Products and services are sold through 11,700 service stations around the country- includes Amoco, ARCO, BP and AM/PM retail outlets and Castrol motor oil.
Through various subsidiaries, operates about 10,000 miles of pipelines

2013 BP America website details: BP has completed the previously announced sale of its Texas City, Texas refinery and a portion of its retail and logistics network in the Southeast U.S. to Marathon Petroleum Corporation;
4 refineries: Cherry Point, Wash., Whiting, Ind., Toledo, Ohio and Carson, capacity for processing 993,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
Announced an agreement to sell the Carson refinery and related logistics and marketing assets in the region to Tesoro Corporation;Tesoro will acquire the 266,000 barrel per day refinery near Los Angeles as well as the associated logistics network of pipelines and storage terminals and the ARCO-branded retail marketing network in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. The sale also includes BP's interests in associated cogeneration and coke calcining operations. The closing is expected to happen before mid-2013.
Products and services are sold through 11,000 service stations around the country- includes Amoco, ARCO, BP and AM/PM retail outlets and Castrol motor oil.


This information is from my memory, supplemented with information from other Web resources. It is NOT represented as fact and should be considered opinion, thus protected by the Free Speech provisions of the United States Constitution. Descriptions of individuals may be my impressions of the roles they played in Sohio history and are not intended to slander or defame them (although some certainly deserve such treatment!).


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