Mauro Zamprogno writes about Oil and Gas
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HISTORY OF SHELL IN BRAZIL
What started almost 200 years ago as a small shop that commercialized antiques and subsequently seashells in London is now one of the largest energy companies in the world.
Our Corporate Story
Almost 200 years ago, a London antique dealer started importing sea shells from the Far East to supply them to an exotic decor shop.
Marcus Samuel’s venture laid the foundations for a thriving import and export business, later run by his sons, Marcus Junior and Sam.
At that time, oil was widely used in lighting and as a lubricant, and the industry was headquartered in Baku, Russia, with large reserves of high-quality oil and its strategic natural harbor.
Revolutionizing oil transportation
The advent of the internal combustion engine in 1886 led to a sudden increase in the demand for transport fuel. Taking advantage of their specialization in maritime transport, the Samuel brothers hired a fleet of steam-powered ships to transport crude oil. They revolutionized the transportation of oil with the maiden voyage of their first tanker, the Murex.
In 1892, the Murex was the first oil tanker in history to transit the Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. In 1897 the company was named Shell Transport and Trading Company and used a mussel shell as its logo.
Becoming the Royal Dutch Shell
Shell Transport’s activities in the East, combined with the search for new sources of oil to reduce dependence on Russia, put the company in contact with Royal Dutch Petroleum. The two joined forces in 1903 to protect themselves against the domination of Standard Oil. In 1907, they merged completely forming the Royal Dutch Shell Group. Shell has changed its logo to a scallop shell, or pécten, which is used to this day.
In the late 1920s, Shell was the world’s leading oil company, producing 11 percent of the world’s crude oil and holding 10 percent of its tanker tonnage. The 1930s were difficult: the group’s assets in Mexico were confiscated, and the company was forced to grant generous terms to the Venezuelan government when it nationalized its oil fields.
After World War II, “peace” brought a sudden increase in the use of automobiles, and Shell expanded, reaching Africa and South America. The boats became larger and better motorized. In 1947, Shell drilled its first commercially viable offshore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. By 1955, Shell already had 300 wells. Three years later (1958), production began in Nigeria.
The oil crisis
In 1969, Muammar Gaddafi seized power in Libya, reducing oil production and raising prices. Other producers threatened to do the same, and the Yom Kippur war in 1973 brought the heyday of the oil crisis. In a few weeks, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) countries have quadrupled the price of oil and imposed a boycott for two months. The effect on the West was economically catastrophic.
Channeling new features
The 1970s were notable for the development of the oil fields in the North Sea and South America – difficult and costly execution, but essential due to the reduced supplies coming from the Middle East.
In 1978 Shell completed drilling at Cognac and the production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the world’s tallest 335-meter platform.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, the public exposure of the oil sector intensified as environmental issues gained prominence. Shell was criticized over plans to divest itself of the Brent Spar platform and encountered difficulties in Nigeria. With the arrival of the new millennium, the company expanded to China and Russia. In 2005, Shell dissolved its old corporate structure to create a unique new company.
Shell remains one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. We have a stake in the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and products for conversion of gas into liquid (GTL). We help develop sustainable biofuels and are involved in wind power projects.
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