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Shell Oil Company

    Shell Oil Company is the United States-based affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company ("oil major") of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest private sector energy corporations in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The company's head office is in Houston, Texas. Shell Oil Company, including its consolidated companies and its share in equity companies, is one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, natural gas marketers, gasoline marketers and petrochemical manufacturers.



  Until the mid 1980s Shell’s business in the United States was substantially independent with its stock (“Shell Oil”) being traded on the NYSE and with little direct involvement from the Group’s central offices in London and The Hague, in the running of the American business. In 1984 Shell made a bid to purchase those shares of Shell Oil Company it did not own (around 30%) and despite some opposition from some minority shareholders which led to a court case, Shell succeeded in the buy-out for a sum of $5.7billion.

Despite the acquisition, however, Shell Oil remained a very independent business. This was partly for complex legal reasons as RoyalDutch/Shell feared that there could be onerous liability problems if a closer control of Shell Oil's affairs was taken by the "parent companies". One of the stranger consequences of this independence was that the Shell logo used in the US was slightly differerent from that used in the rest of the world. In the 1990s Shell Oil's independence began gradually to be eroded as the "parent companies" took a more hands-on approach in the running of the business. The logo now used in the United States is the same as that used elsewhere.

Business areas

  Shell is the market leader for the supply of gasoline to the motorist through approximately 25,000 Shell-branded gas stations in the US which also serve as Shell's most visible public presence. Shell Oil Company is a 50/50 partner with the Saudi Arabian government-owned oil company Saudi Aramco in Motiva Enterprises, a refining and marketing joint venture which owns and operates three oil refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States. It also holds 80% of an exploration firm called Pecten that explores and drills in various offshore locations including the oil basin near Douala, Cameroon in cooperation with the French government-owned Elf Aquitaine. [1]

Controversy and criticism

Mehdi Shahbazi was a Shell station operator in central California from 1982 until September 2007. Incensed by the zone pricing strategy of Shell, he posted signs in 2005 highlighting "Big oil's unearned profit." Shell sued Shahbazi saying that the protest violated the terms of his lease.[2] Shahbazi responded by accusing the company of "breach of contract and of violating the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act." Shell then terminated his contract, stopped supplying his station, and fenced out his oil dispensers.[citation needed]

In August 2007, a federal judge ruled in favor of Shell, and Shahbazi was ordered to vacate the station. Shahbazi had gone on a hunger strike before the ruling, which eventually resulted in his death on November 14, 2007 due to liver failure.[3]


  • Aera Energy LLC is a joint venture with Mobil Oil operating in California.
  • Shell Development Emeryville was a research facility that operated from 1928-1966 in California


  1. ^
  2. ^ Mehdi Shahbazi's website
  3. ^ Mercury News article: Hunger striker Mehdi Shahbazi dies at 65 after fighting Shell Oil
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shell_Oil_Company". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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