our operationshow the energy sector helped fuel victory during second world war
3 min read | september 08, 2022
The Second World War was fought partly form the skies and energy companies played a vital role in helping defeat Germany and its allies by supplying allies with high-octane aviation fuel.
An upcoming airshow in Midland, Texas, includes a history lesson about Chevron’s efforts in helping the Allied forces win the Second World War.
The AirSho event highlights the importance of aviation in war. Chevron, along with other energy providers, played a pivotal role in supplying U.S. propeller driven aircrafts with the high-octane fuel needed to fight Italy, Germany and Japan.
more on that
As the Second World War approached it became clear that the battle would be partially from the skies and that higher-octane fuel was needed to improve the Allies’ engine performance. Recognizing the impending need, Chevron and other energy companies began ramping up production to fuel high piston engines used in modern military aircraft of the time.
- U.S. oil production increased 30% from 1940 to 1945.
- The Permian Basin was responsible for nearly one-quarter of worldwide oil and gas production.
- The Standard Oil Company of California (now Chevron) produced more than 1 billion gallons of 100-octane aviation fuel during the war.
- The war also sparked a boom in petrochemical demand; petroleum refineries produced about 80% of the military’s toluene, a main ingredient in TNT.
- Other products included a lubricant that reduced the risk of the enemy detecting our submarines and copper naphthenate, a refining byproduct used to strengthen the fibers in sandbags.
why it matters
John Harper, Chevron historian
Pictured at right is an advertisement that appeared in the Standard Oil Bulletin in April 1942
The airshow is an opportunity to educate the public about the Second World War through presentations, aircraft demonstrations and historical reenactments.
Oil was in high demand during the war, with countries such as Germany and Japan invading other countries to find it.
Germany knew the U.S. had vast supplies of oil, along with the infrastructure and means to use it. The German army had possession of a Standard Oil Company of California road map that pinpointed high-producing regions and company assets. The map was displayed on the wall of a Nazi commander.
The facilities went into high alert and required employees to begin carrying photo identification cards to enter buildings.
“Oil was in critical demand,” Harper said. “Both the allies and Axis powers understood oil would largely determine the outcome of the war. It is no surprise that Chevron's West Coast producing fields, refineries and pipelines had been identified by Germany as strategically important. In 1945, one of our own employees serving in the armed forces discovered a 1940 Standard of California road map in a German high command office in Bremen. Major Chevron field and facilities had been circled on the map.”
women enter the workforce
Women played a vital role in keeping our production moving during the war, with some entering the workforce for the first time. By the end of 1944, more than 4,000 women were employed by Chevron, with many working in our refineries.
history takes flight
As the title sponsor of the event, Chevron’s role in history will be on display during the upcoming airshow at the Midland International Air and Space Port, along with demonstrations of vintage military aircraft and simulations of military maneuvers on land and in the air.
The event happens September 10 and 11. Click here to learn more or buy tickets.
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