In May 2012, Phillips 66 debuted as an independent downstream energy company with refining, marketing, midstream and chemicals businesses operating across the globe.
The name Phillips 66 reflects the company’s rich history and has strong brand recognition and value as it has been one of the leading fuel brand names in the United States for decades.
Phillips 66 enjoys a rich and complex history through its many predecessor companies, most notably Conoco and Phillips Petroleum Company. These two companies had long and successful businesses before merging in 2002 to form ConocoPhillips. In 2012, ConocoPhillips repositioned into two stand-alone publicly traded companies, one of which is the Phillips 66 of today.
Phillips 66’s history dates back to 1875. In its long history, Phillips 66 has had great moments that demonstrate its vision and values. A timeline tracking Phillips 66’s growth and evolution as a leader in the refining, marketing, midstream and chemicals businesses can be found below. The timeline specifically tracks the development of Phillips 66’s current asset base, which includes interest in 15 refineries, more than 10,000 branded marketers, 86,000 miles of pipeline and more than 40 billion pounds of chemicals processing capacity.
Conoco began as the Continental Oil and Transportation Co., one of the first petroleum marketers in the West. Conoco’s founder Isaac E. Blake was looking for a way to sell kerosene in San Francisco, so he directed the construction of the first pipeline in California.
Standard Oil took control of Continental, but would later relinquish it upon order by the U.S. Supreme Court. By then, Continental was the top marketer of petroleum products in the Rocky Mountain region, with much of its output refined into gasoline as automobiles took to the road in greater number.
Continental built the West’s first filling station and invested in a fleet of delivery trucks, each with three tanks to deliver different types of fuel. Over the next 20 years, the company built more than 1,000 service stations in 15 states, each emblazoned with the trademark Continental soldier. It eased its way into the production and refining of crude oil, merging with several other producers, but always retaining the name Continental Oil.
Pennsylvania oil man E.W. Marland headed west to Oklahoma in search of oil. He secured a lease from the Ponca Indian tribe and first struck oil in 1911. He quickly built a small refinery to process the crude, and incorporated the Marland Oil Company to market the refined output and built hundreds of service stations. The company became headquartered in Ponca City, Okla.
Brothers Frank and L.E. Phillips founded Phillips Petroleum Company, headquartered in Bartlesville, Okla.
Phillips formed its Aviation department. The company designed the first aviation refueling trucks and developed a new, lighter, more efficient Phillips aviation fuel that powered the first flight between the U.S. and Hawaii.
Phillips first began marketing gasoline in Wichita, Kan., through the first of more than 10,000 service stations across the country. In this same year, Phillips decided to enter the refining business and acquired its first refinery near Borger, Texas.
Marland Oil Co. merged with Continental Oil and Transportation Co. The new corporation was based in Ponca City and named Continental Oil Co (Conoco). It owned thousands of retail outlets in 30 states.
Phillips began to increase its refining and retailing capacities when it acquired the Independent Oil and Gas Company.
The 76 brand, long familiar in the western U.S., was created by Union Oil Company of California (later Unocal).
Conoco built the Great Lakes pipeline connecting Ponca City with Chicago and funded many new products, among them the first lubricant to reduce engine friction. Conoco’s Germ-Processed Motor Oil was a hit, tested successfully against other brands in contests across Death Valley and in the Indianapolis 500.
World War II Phillips invented the HF Alkylation process, which made high-octane aviation fuel possible, boosting the power of Allied airplanes and helping to win the war. Conoco operated a separate refinery to manufacture high-octane aviation fuel for the U.S. government. To fill jobs previously performed by men, more than 1,000 women were hired, many wearing blue denim overalls adorned with the trademark Conoco red triangle.
Post World War II – 1960S
Conoco funded a new $2 million research facility in Ponca City; expanded refineries in Ponca City, Baltimore, Denver and Lake Charles; and erected a new refinery in Billings, Mont. In 1948, Phillips formed a new subsidiary, Phillips Chemical Company, and became one of the first oil companies to install electrostatic precipitators at refineries to reduce air emissions. Later, in 1951, Phillips invented polyethylene plastics and discovered and developed a new process to produce high-density polyethylene resins, launching Phillips’ entry into the plastics business. It also began producing a polyolefin plastic trademarked as Marlex. Wham-O Manufacturing used Marlex in the production of the hula hoop, which became popular in that decade. In the early 1950s, Phillips began expanding the company’s marketing beyond the Midwest by opening Phillips 66 stations in Texas and Louisiana.
Conoco expanded overseas by engineering acquisitions throughout Europe, creating a network of service stations in West Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, each marketing different Conoco gasoline brands. By 1972, Conoco had diversified into coal, chemicals, plastics, fertilizers and minerals.
DuPont acquired Conoco after a heated takeover battle, and Conoco became a wholly owned DuPont subsidiary. It was the largest merger in U.S. history at that time.
Conoco entered a joint venture with Pennzoil to produce specialty lubricants at the Lake Charles refinery.
DuPont announced the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Conoco, setting the stage for Conoco to become its own company again.
Phillips combined its midstream business with that of Duke Energy Field Services, creating what is today DCP Midstream. Phillips and Chevron combined their chemicals and plastics operations, creating Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.
Phillips acquired Tosco Corporation, one of the largest refiners and marketers in the U.S.
Conoco and Phillips officially merged, creating the sixth-largest publicly traded oil company in the world and the third-largest in the U.S. The new company became headquartered in Houston, Texas.
ConocoPhillips added E-Gas Technology for Gasification to its downstream technology portfolio. E-Gas has the potential to make use of our most abundant energy resource – coal – in such a way as to dramatically reduce its environmental impact. This proven technology is the cleanest, most efficient commercial process for converting coal or petroleum coke into a hydrogen rich synthesis gas, ideally suited for refining, power and chemicals application.
ConocoPhillips increased its ownership in Duke Energy Field Services (DEFS) from 30.3 percent to 50 percent, essentially completing the consolidation of the company’s North American midstream businesses into DEFS (today known as DCP Midstream). The company also expanded into the Rockies by converting 50 former BP-branded stations to the Conoco brand in the Denver metro area.
ConocoPhillips completed the purchase of the Wilhelmshaven refinery in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, from Louis Dreyfus Energy Holdings Limited. ConocoPhillips began commercial production of renewable diesel fuel at the company’s Whitegate Refinery in Cork, Ireland. The production process was developed by ConocoPhillips and uses soybean and other vegetable oils to produce renewable diesel fuel that meets European Union standards for diesel fuels. In addition, the company announced its intention to expand the capacity of the Immingham Combined Heat and Power plant in the United Kingdom by 450 megawatts. Also in 2006, ConocoPhillips completed the acquisition of a partial interest in the planned 1,663-mile Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) project. The over-$4 billion pipeline, a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Sempra Pipelines and Storage and ConocoPhillips will be one of the largest natural gas pipelines ever constructed in North America.
ConocoPhillips and Archer Daniels Midland Company agreed to collaborate on the development of renewable transportation fuels from biomass. The company successfully initiated the upstream and downstream business ventures with EnCana and began upgrading the Borger and Wood River refineries to increase their heavy-oil processing capacity.
ConocoPhillips and Pilot Travel Centers completed the sale of ConocoPhillips’ 50 percent partnership interest in the CFJ Properties -Flying J truck stops to Pilot Travel Centers. The transactions also include long-term product supply agreements with Pilot. The sale is consistent with ConocoPhillips’ overall U.S. marketing strategy, which is to minimize company ownership of motor fuel stations while securing long-term markets for refined products from ConocoPhillips refineries. Gulf Coast Fractionators, a partnership between ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy Corporation and Targa Resources Partners LP, announced plans to expand the capacity of its natural gas liquids fractionation facility located in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The maximum gross fractionation capacity of the facility will be expanded by approximately 42 percent (43,000 barrels per day) to 145,000 barrels per day.
Consistent with ConocoPhillips’ previously stated strategies and focus on value creation for its shareholders, ConocoPhillips’ board of directors approved pursuing the separation of the company’s Refining & Marketing and Exploration & Production businesses into two stand-alone, publicly traded corporations via a tax-free spin of the refining and marketing business to ConocoPhillips shareholders. Greg Garland was announced as CEO designate of Phillips 66 on Oct. 7, 2011. The company headquarters would stay in Houston, Texas. The Wood River coker and refinery expansion project was completed, raising heavy crude oil processing capacity while increasing clean product yield by 5 percent at the refinery.
The repositioning of ConocoPhillips became complete, and Phillips 66 began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 1, 2012 under the ticker PSX.