Sunoco, Inc. Formerly the Sun Company Inc., or the Sun Oil Company. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.
This company was started in 1886, by Joseph Newton Pew and Edward O. Emerson. They were partners in the Peoples Natural Gas Company based out of Pittsburgh, they then decided to expand their company to include oil products such as natural gas and petroleum based lubricants. Soon they were able to buy their own oil fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and within a few years the company was one of "Ohio's leading suppliers of crude oil" (www.sunocoinc.com)
In 1894 the Sun Oil Company bought out Diamond Oil Company. In the years to come, Sun Oil Company would expand to include New Jersey as part of their sales area, as well as importing crude oil from Texas. In 1912 Joseph Pew finally died, his son, J. Howard Pew took over with his brother as vice president.
Then in 1916, the Pew brothers opened a ship building company by the name of Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, during World War two this company made and converted about 40% of all the war time tankers. In 1920 Sun opened a service station in Ardmore, PA and another in Toledo, Ohio. And then in 1925 the company started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 1929 Sun Oil merged with Sperry Gyroscope, and then in 1937 Sun was involved with a plant that processed catalysts in Marcus Hook, PA. The mining business finally caught the attention of the Pew brothers in 1941, and the company then formed another company in Nevada to mine mercury for their motor oils, this company was called the Cordero Mining Company.
In 1947 J. Howard Pew resigned as President and Robert G. Dunlop took his place. In 1955, Sun Oil came up with a way to dispense gases of different octane from the same nozzle. In 1968 Sun Oil merged again, this time with Sunray DX Oil Company based out of Tulsa, OK. Then in 1975 they moved to their new headquarters in Radnor, PA. and in 1976 they renamed the company to Sun Company.
1979, was the year that Sun Company bought Elk River Resources, which expanded its presence in the coal industry. Then in 1980, Sun bought the Texas Pacific Oil Company, Inc. a subsidiary of the Seagram Company, ltd. And then later that year, Sun Company also bought Viking Oil, which operates out of the North Sea.
For a change of trend, in 1981 Sun sold Sperry-Sun, which it had acquired in 1929. In 1982, Sun Company sold Sun Shipbuilding, which was started in 1916. And then in 1983 Sun Company started a new line of gasoline to try and boost the image of the company. They were the first major company to sell ULTRA, the highest octane unleaded gas available in the US.
Sun Company saw that the lube oil business was slowing down but that there was a rising market in coal. Therefore, in 1983 Sun Company bought another coal company, Whitaker Coal Corporation from Kentucky, but in response to the failing lube oil market Sun backed off on the amount of business it did. In 1984, Sun bought Exeter Oil Company, Victory Oil Company and Petro-Lewis Corporation, as well as expanding drilling off the coast of China, and in the North Sea.
In 1988, Sun Company went through a major restructuring where they turned over all of the domestic oil and gas production to a subsidiary, Sun Exploration and Production. This was so that Sun Oil could focus more heavily in the marketing and refining aspects of oil production. This restructuring left Sun Oil free to buy Atlantic Petroleum Corporation, which was very profitable to Sun. In 1994, Sun was able to buy a refinery from Chevron which happened to sit right next to a refinery for the Atlantic Petroleum Company which Sun Oil had bought 6 years previously. This purchase allowed Sun Oil to build one very large refinery complex instead of the two smaller refineries that had been there. This was a strategic move for Sun, because it had another refinery 12 miles away in Marcus Hook, PA. This raised the efficiency of its oil refinery facilities.
In 1990, the company decided that international exploration was no longer an option for Sun, and moved its headquarters from Radnor to Philadelphia. Instead of seeking overseas business, Sun's new focus would be chemicals, logistics and lubricants as well as branded gasoline sales in the northeast. And then in 1991, the new plan called for Sun to start selling off its real estate business. In 1993 Sun Company sold off Cordero Mining which it had owned for 52 years. In 1995 the Canadian subsidiary finished selling off its real estate. And then as a last effort, Sun sold off its international oil and gas production business in 1996.
In 1998, the Sun Company started a new chapter as Sunoco, Inc. a company that most people have heard of and bought gas from. In 2001 Sunoco started expanding its options in the chemicals business by buying the Aristech Chemical Corporation which is based out of Pittsburgh; this made Sunoco a significant name in the chemicals market worldwide. In 2003 Sunoco bought a facility that makes polypropylene from Equistar, also that year Sunoco started building a coke making facility in Haverhill, Ohio. This facility, headed by Sunoco Coke, will supply 550,000 tons of coke to the International Steel Group annually. In 2004, Sunoco finished selling plasticizers to BASF, and bought the Eagle Point refinery in El Paso, this refinery increased Sunoco's gasoline production by 20 percent.
Recently, Sunoco has been trying to raise its visibility as a company in addition to expanding from the northeast by selling its gas at Wal-Mart locations. Beginning in 2004, Sunoco is the official gas of NASCAR. This added visibility as well as buying Speedways and ConocoPhillips on the East Coast is a new effort to boost sales and image for the company.
For over 100 years, the Sun Oil Company has been in the North East, and though the many facets of that company have changed, its primary focus is selling gasoline.