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A Brief History of Gulf Oil


Company History

Gulf Oil is one of the largest independently owned companies in the world and one of the most famous brands in the world. Under the strap line 'your local global brand' they provide high quality products and services throughout the world


Gulf Oil was founded in 1901 at the time of the discovery of oil at Spindletop, Texas. Gulf promoted the idea of branded product sales by selling gasoline in containers and from pumps marked with the distinctive ‘Orange Disc’ logo. The Gulf orange disc has reached iconic status, enjoying strong brand recognition with people from all parts of the world.


Gulf Oil grew steadily in the inter-war years with the company being characterised by its vertically integrated business activities. Gulf was a strong oil company with operations including exploration, production and transport, refining and marketing. It also involved itself in diversified industries such as petrochemicals and automobile component manufacturing. Gulf has always been at the corner stone of commercial and technical innovations. One of Gulf's initial visionary steps was the introduction of the first drive-in service station in 1911. Other pioneering moves included introducing complimentary road maps, over-water drilling and catalytic cracking refineries.

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Such visionary thinking is essential and remains the corner stone of growth for the company today. Gulf has experienced steady growth and continued to do so after the company was bought by Chevron for its US operations in 1984 (now owned by Cumberland Farms Inc.). In other parts of the world (with the exception of USA, Spain & Portugal), the Gulf brand is widely recognised under ‘Gulf Oil International Ltd (GOI)’. This is part of the privately owned ‘Hinduja Group’, an Indian family run business, which acquired the rights to the Gulf brand some years later.

Today (through Gulf Oil International), the Gulf brand is now present in more than 100 countries worldwide via a network of official distributors and wholly owned operations. An extensive portfolio of products is provided to distributors through a global network of blending facilities located in Asia, Europe, North and South America. Gulf is committed to offering high quality products that constantly evolve and develop to meet and exceed the highest industry standards and OEM Approvals. The company strap line is ‘your local global brand’ and this reflects both the company structure and its ethos towards the consumer. Gulf is a global brand with local representation, meaning that consumers benefit from a global offering that understand and allows for local needs through the flexibility of regional variations.


Gulf Oil International is committed to a strategy of growth and development and this best reflected through its ever-growing number of Gulf branded petrol stations. Gulf has also built on its historical strength in endurance motorsport and the Le Mans 24Hrs, now sponsoring a portfolio of race teams including the Aston Martin Racing Le Mans team. 

Gulf Oil is one of the most famous oil brands in the world, with a rich history and a bright future. The brand continues to go from strength to strength in the industry and is always looking for new partners to take the brand into new territories and new product markets.

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