delivering energy for 120 years
December 8, 2015 – Since 1895, Chevron ships have sailed the open seas, carrying crude oil, refined products, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to refineries and customers around the world. This month, Chevron Shipping Co. marks the 120th anniversary of the beginning of the company’s rich marine history.
In 1895, Pacific Coast Oil Co. (PCO), Chevron’s earliest predecessor, launched the 641-ton S.S. George Loomis. The first steel oil tanker built and operated on the Pacific Coast and the second built in the United States, the Loomis’ hull was divided into six separate tanks by longitudinal and transverse bulkheads.
In 1900, when Standard Oil Co. acquired PCO, the Loomis became the flagship for the company’s quickly expanding fleet. Ten years later, Standard’s fleet of five tankers, six barges, a stern-wheel tanker and two launches had transported more than 102 million barrels of oil.
Shown here docked at Standard's San Pedro Marine Terminal in this 1912 photo, the S.S. George Loomis was dwarfed by a newer, larger tanker. By then, the Loomis had been sailing for close to two decades.
Following the break-up of the Standard Oil Company, the Marine Department of Standard Oil Company (California) began a construction program to expand the company fleet, launching its first steamship that same year. The 40,000-barrel carrier, El Segundo, an oil-fired vessel, was capable of traveling for 30 days without refueling. By 1921, Standard’s fleet of 41 vessels constituted the largest privately owned fleet on the Pacific Coast.
A similar pattern involved our other legacy companies, including Gulf, Texaco and Unocal, which grew to deliver energy to help improve the standard of living across the world. None of them reached more ports than the Caltex fleet, which started in 1950 with a bareboat charter of 12 tankers and the direct purchase of three more, and grew to a 33-tanker fleet by 1967, when its joint-venture partners, the renamed Standard Oil Co. of California (Socal) and Texaco, divided its fleet and crews.
In this 1961 photo, a Caltex oil barge delivered products to customers in Bangkok, Thailand.
In the decade that followed, Socal signaled a new era in marine transport with its 1970 order of six new Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), supertankers of 200,000 deadweight tons or more. Four years later, Socal became the first company to transfer crude from a VLCC to smaller “lightering vessels” for transport to refineries located near shallow water marine terminals. This pioneering approach proved both economically and environmentally effective, and is still used today.
When world events precipitated a drop in oil supply, the need for supertankers shrunk, and by the mid-1980s, the company (renamed Chevron in 1984) had sold or laid up virtually all of its VLCCs. Nonetheless, in 1985, the size of the fleet increased following the acquisition of Gulf Corp. With the addition of 11 Gulf tankers, Chevron managed the world’s largest oil-company-operated fleet.
Chevron Shipping Today
Over time, older ships were retired, and the company built or acquired others to meet emerging needs. From the George Loomis to our newest LNG carrier, the Asia Endeavour, each addition to the Chevron fleet demonstrates the technological advances that are a hallmark of our company.
“Today, as we recognize our rich seafaring history, we are nearing completion of the largest shipbuilding and fleet modernization program in recent corporate history with the introduction of 13 new ships to our fleet between 2013 and 2017, including six new LNG carriers that will support Chevron’s growing global LNG business,” said Mark Ross, president, Chevron Shipping Company. “This current growth reflects Chevron Shipping Company’s core mission of enabling the success of Chevron’s upstream and downstream and chemicals businesses. We accomplish this by providing safe, reliable and cost-competitive marine transportation; managing marine risk; and adding value to the enterprise through our operations, technical, project and commercial support to our customers,” Ross continued.
Ross added, “Chevron Shipping provides additional value by serving as the Marine Center of Expertise supporting Chevron operations and projects by providing consulting and operational support in the marine environment.”
Chevron Shipping operates a fleet of 30 modern vessels transporting crude oil, refined products and LNG. Its focus on operational excellence has delivered safety and environmental performance that leads the shipping industry. Its new Marine Learning and Development Centre in Glasgow, Scotland – focused on providing training to the next generation of seafaring professionals – will serve to hone the skills of the Chevron Shipping mariners who continue the company’s legacy into the future.
Published: December 2015