More than a century in New Zealand
Mobil was the first oil company to operate in New Zealand. We have grown up with the nation through over a century of change.
Mobil's heritage parent company, Standard Oil, began selling kerosene here in the 1870s.
Early in 1896 one of Mobil's predecessor companies, Vacuum Oil of New York, established a marketing office in Featherston Street, Wellington, selling lamp oil and harness grease for horse-drawn vehicles.
The company brought with it collective production, marketing and management skills that represented a major advance in business organisation. Vacuum's unrivalled mineral lubricant products and services soon dominated the market.
As New Zealanders started taking to the motorcar in the early 20th Century, Vacuum expanded into the fuels business. Its professional network of marketers grew along with the nation's transport fleet.
When World War One came, Vacuum was the only oil company that managed to consistently and reliably supply the country's fuel and lubricant needs and it held about 85 percent of the market.
Then in the post-World War One period, Vacuum started to face strong competition as other multi-national oil companies set up operations in New Zealand. Among them was Atlantic Union Oil Company, another heritage ExxonMobil company.
In 1933, Atlantic Union was taken over by Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) − later to become Exxon. Following this, the eastern hemisphere interests of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) were merged with those of Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, to create Standard-Vacuum Oil Company (Stanvac). The merged company continued to market in New Zealand under the separate entities, Vacuum and Atlantic Union.
As an island nation New Zealand is heavily reliant on its sea and air links. Mobil products have played a pivotal role in forging and maintaining those links. By 1936 over 90 percent of all New Zealand and Australian motorised ships were Vacuum lubricated. The aviation pioneers who established air links across the Pacific, including Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm and Oscar Gardens, relied on Stanvac products to fuel and lubricate their planes.
Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, the company continued to provide new products, advance technologies, expand business lines and establish new markets. Such growth caused issues with the Anti-trust Board in the US and in 1962 Stanvac and its assets were re-divided between Atlantic Union Oil (Esso) and Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (Mobil).
The Atlantic Union people and assets in New Zealand were subsequently absorbed into the new Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited.
Then on November 30, 1999, the global businesses of Exxon Corporation and Mobil Oil Corporation were merged and Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited became part of the world's premier petroleum and petrochemical company, Exxon Mobil Corporation.
As an integrated oil company our history in New Zealand has involved a series of companies whose activities included exploration, production, refining, marketing, research and product development, mining, petrochemical production, transport and real estate.
Brand names and products have come and gone but the essence of what is now ExxonMobil has remained throughout our more than 110 years of history in this country.