|The Beginnings in
got its start on March 27, 1886, when Joseph Newton Pew and Edward O. Emerson, partners in
The Peoples Natural Gas Company in Pittsburgh, Pa., made a bold move to diversify their
business. Looking to the promising new oil discoveries in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the
partners paid $4,500 for two oil leases near Lima, Ohio. Within a few years the company
had acquired pipelines, leases, storage tanks -- and was emerging as one of Ohio's leading
suppliers of crude oil. On March 17, 1890, it became The Sun Oil Company of Ohio and was
producing, transporting and storing oil as well as refining, shipping and marketing
petroleum products. Through the purchase of the Diamond Oil Company in 1894, Sun acquired
a refinery in Toledo, Ohio, and began operations there in 1895. The partnership ended in
1899, when Mr. Pew bought out Mr. Emerson's interest.
In May 1901, the company headed by Mr. Pew was incorporated
in New Jersey as Sun Company and began securing leases and crude oil in the new Spindletop
field in Texas. With business growing, Mr. Pew in 1901 purchased 82 acres in Marcus Hook,
Pa., as the site for a second refinery to process crude oil shipped by tanker from
Spindletop. Marcus Hook went on stream on March 20 that year.
In 1912, the year after Sun Company celebrated its 25th
anniversary, Joseph Newton Pew died and was succeeded as President by his 30-year-old son,
J. Howard Pew, whose brother, Joseph N. Pew, Jr., became Vice President.
Years of Innovation
The Pew brothers pioneered innovation and expansion of the company. In 1916 they
established Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, a subsidiary that took the company into
the shipbuilding business. In 1920 Sun opened its first service station in Ardmore, Pa.,
and then another in Toledo, Ohio. The name changed to Sun Oil Company in 1922 to better
identify the company with its business. On November 12, 1925, Sun went public -- its stock
appearing for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange.
Before the decade was over, Sun was in the oil field
equipment business with the 1929 formation of Sperry-Sun, a joint venture with Sperry
Gyroscope. One of the most dramatic events of the 1930s for the company -- and the
refining industry -- took place when Sun placed on stream the world's first large-scale,
commercial catalytic cracking plant in Marcus Hook in 1937.
The mining business attracted Sun in
1941, when Sun formed the Cordero Mining Company in Nevada to supply mercury for Sunoco
motor oils. The metal proved vital during the World War II effort. So too did Sun
Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company -- which turned out 40 percent of all wartime tankers
built or reconverted.
By 1947 J. Howard Pew was 65 years old and resigned as
President, to be succeeded on March 18 of that year by Robert G. Dunlop. Mr. Pew remained
a director, and his brother Joseph N. Pew, Jr., was named Chairman of the Board.
Expanding North and South
The company was expanding north and south by the 1950s. In Canada Sun started a 15,000
barrels per day refinery in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1953. And in Venezuela beginning in 1957
Venezuelan Sun Oil Company produced more than one billion barrels of oil from Lake
Maracaibo before ceasing operations when the Venezuelan government nationalized Sun's
holdings in 1975.
Back in the States, 1956 was the year Sun introduced the Custom Blending Pump, a novel
system for dispensing a choice of several octane grades of gasoline from a single pump. It
revolutionized the method of marketing gasoline, and a model of the pump is on display at
the Smithsonian Institution.
Joseph N. Pew, Jr., son of the founder and Chairman of the Board, died in
1963. His brother, J. Howard Pew, became Chairman.
A bold venture began for Sun in 1967 in the Athabasca oil sands of Canada, with Sun's
Great Canadian Oil Sands Limited subsidiary completing its processing facility in northern
Alberta. The plant had the capacity to produce 45,000 barrels per day of synthetic crude
oil from the estimated 300 billion barrels of recoverable oil locked in the sands.
Sun Reshapes --and Later
Sun grew by merger in 1968. On October 25 Sun Oil Company and Sunray DX Oil
Company, headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., merged to form a new Sun Oil Company. Two years
later Robert G. Dunlop replaced J. Howard Pew as Chairman of the Board and H. Robert
Sharbaugh was elected President and Chief Operating Officer of the company. Having been
based in downtown Philadelphia for many years, Sun Oil Company moved to a new headquarters
building in St. Davids, Pa., in 1971. That year, on November 17, J. Howard Pew died --
having just celebrated his 70th year with Sun Oil Company.
Major restructuring reshaped the company in 1975, when it
organized into fourteen operating units, two property companies and a non-operating parent
company, and moved to a major new corporate headquarters in Radnor, Pa. H. Robert
Sharbaugh, President and CEO of Sun Oil Company, was elected Chairman of the Board.
Reflecting the diversification of the company, Sun Oil Company was renamed Sun Company in
1976. There were changes in management that year too with Theodore A. Burtis being elected
President and Chief Operating Officer and Mr. Sharbaugh continuing as Chairman and CEO. In
1978, Mr. Burtis would take the post of CEO.
A Major Expansion
In a dramatic acquisition in 1980, Sun purchased the
U.S. oil and gas properties of Texas Pacific Oil Company, Inc., a subsidiary of The
Seagram Company, Ltd., for $2.3 billion. At the time this was the second largest
acquisition in the history of U.S. business. Also bought that year: Viking Oil Limited,
owner of a 20 percent interest in promising production blocks in the North Sea. The year
before, in 1979, Sun had also taken a wider position in coal by acquiring eastern reserves
from Elk River Resources, Inc.
Sun sold Sperry-Sun in 1981 and Sun Ship in 1982. The latter ended the
company's 65 years in the shipbuilding business. It was a new look in 1981 when the word
SUN in blue block letters on a white sunburst became the identifying symbol of the
company. Keeping its familiar Sunoco Diamond and DX symbols at the pump, Sun intensified
its marketing push in 1983 with the introduction of Sunoco ULTRA, the highest octane
premium unleaded gasoline available from a major U.S. refiner.
The early 1980s brought expansion on a number of fronts. Internationally, Sun signed on to
develop interests in the North Sea and offshore China. Domestic reserves were added with
the acquisition of Exeter Oil Company, Victory Oil Company and interests of Petro-Lewis
Corporation in 1984. The coal business grew too with the acquisition of Whitaker Coal
Corporation in Kentucky in 1983. At the same time, responding to the market, Sun began to
reduce its lube oil business.
On July 3, 1985, Robert McClements, Jr., President of the company, became CEO as well,
with Theodore A. Burtis continuing as Chairman of the Board. The following year Mr. Burtis
resigned that post, but remained a director. Mr. McClements took over as Chairman and
Robert P. Hauptfuhrer was made President and Chief Operating Officer.
Focus on Refining and Marketing
In 1988 Sun's board approved a major restructuring of the company, disposing of all
domestic oil and gas exploration and production through the distribution of Sun
Exploration and Production Company, a wholly owned subsidiary, to the common shareholders
of Sun Company, Inc., and focusing on the "downstream" part of the business --
refining and marketing.
The renewed focus on refining and marketing began immediately with the acquisition of
Atlantic Petroleum Corporation, bringing to Sun another refinery, a network of service
stations and a pipeline system. Six years later, the company acquired Chevron's
Philadelphia Refinery, immediately adjacent to the former Atlantic facility, and set to
work combining the two into a single, more efficient refining complex that was linked
directly to the Marcus Hook Refinery, just 12 miles away.
In the early 1990s, the company moved its headquarters from Radnor to
downtown Philadelphia and exited the international exploration business. In February 1991
the board elected Robert H. Campbell (formerly an executive vice president with the
company) as President and Chief Operating Officer. By the end of 1992 the board made Mr.
Campbell Chief Executive Officer as well, with Mr. McClements still Chairman of the Board.
Mr. McClements retired from that position in 1992, with Mr. Campbell replacing him.
Sun's strategic direction would now focus on the value added businesses: branded gasoline
marketing in the northeastern U.S.; lubricants; chemicals; and logistics. Part of that new
strategic focus called for divesting Sun's interest in the real estate business, a process
that began in 1991, and in Suncor, the Canadian subsidiary, a process that was completed
in 1995. Cordero Mining Company was sold in 1993 and Sun's international oil and gas
production business was sold in 1996.
management made a major departure from tradition in 1996 when the board elected John G.
(Jack) Drosdick President and Chief Operating Officer. The first Sun President ever to
come to that position from outside the company, he had previously been President and COO
of Ultramar Corporation and had also served as President and CEO of Tosco Refining
Company. Mr. Drosdick succeeded Mr. Campbell as Chairman, CEO and President
following Mr. Campbell's retirement on May 4, 2000.
The steps taken by Sun in recent years have prepared the company to succeed in a new
environment for the petroleum industry, and on November 6, 1998, the company's name was
again changed to more clearly reflect its principal business. Having become one of the
largest independent U.S. refiner-marketers, Sun Company, Inc. became Sunoco, Inc. -- a
company with a history that spans half of the American experience, but one fully prepared
for the 21st Century.
Expanding Sunoco Chemicals
In 2001 Sunoco took a quantum step in the growth
of its chemicals business, acquiring Pittsburgh-based Aristech
Chemical Corporation. Included in the purchase were five
Aristech chemical plants and a state-of-the-art research
center in Pittsburgh. This acquisition not only doubled
the size of Sunoco's chemicals business but also enabled
Sunoco to become a significant player in the world's chemical