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Since the founding of Amoco Corporation more than 100 years ago, Amoco Pipeline Company has grown from a small, regional company to BP Amoco - Pipelines North America, the second largest liquids pipeline company in the U.S. It transports more than 450 million barrel-miles of oil, refined products, natural gas liquids, carbon dioxide, and chemicals daily -- about 9 percent of the US Liquids pipeline market.

This timeline represents an edited version of text obtained from the books, The History of The Standard Oil Company, written by Ida M. Tarbell in 1904 and Challenge and Response, A Modern History of Standard Oil Company (Indiana), written by Emmett Dedmon in 1984. Also, information was obtained from an article that appeared in the 1998 Shield, the international magazine of the BP Amoco Group.

1859: Colonel Drake Strikes Oil

"Colonel" Edwin Drake, one-time railroad conductor, drilled the first commercial oil well in Titusville Pennsylvania. By the 1880s, the commercial potentialities of oil was just beginning to be realized. In two decades oil production had grown to the point where more than 80 percent of the world’s petroleum consumption was supplied by Pennsylvania oil fields.

1863: The Teamsters & Pipeline Gathering

The first discoveries where transported to rail stations by teamsters using converted whiskey barrels and horses. From the very beginning, transportation was key with the teamsters holding the first regional monopoly position. They charged more to move a barrel of oil 5 miles by horse than the entire rail freight charge from Pennsylvania to New York City.

Despite considerable ridicule, threats, armed attacks, arson and sabotage, the first wooden pipeline, about 9 miles in length, was built in 1865 in essence bypassing the teamsters.

During this same point in history, a young entrepreneur named John D. Rockefeller, was busily acquiring kerosene refineries, and strong positions with the railroads. In 1870 he combined his companies into one, the Standard Oil Company.

1879: Tidewater - The First Trunkline

Independent oilmen, in a desperate effort to compete with Rockefeller’s position in transportation, built the first crude oil trunk line called Tidewater in 1879.

Within a year, Rockfeller owned half of Tidewater and was busily laying pipelines to Buffalo, Philadelphia, Cleveland and New York.

1880s: The Rise of Russian Oil

Rockefeller looked to export his kerosene lamp oil production to Northern Europe and Russia.

Not long after this, oil was discovered near the Russian sea town of Baku. Over 20 refineries sprang up in the region, but once again, logistics was key.

A pipeline was contracted through the mountains east of Baku where an enterprising merchant Marcus Samuel developed the first organized kerosene shipping enterprise to compete with Rockefeller and send kerosene to Europe and the Far East.

1880-1905: Gushers and Refineries

Meanwhile, back in the states, geologists where astonished to see oil discoveries in Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas, and the first true gusher at Spindletop, TX. which flowed 110,000 barrels per day.

Refineries sprang up near both oil fields and new markets with the largest being Rockfeller’s venture on the southern shores of lake Michigan at Whiting, Indiana.

By the turn of the century, oil was discovered as far west as California.

1905: Crude Oil Pipelines

At this point in history the oil business was shifting from kerosene lamp oil to gasoline.

Edison had electrified many of the cities reducing the kerosene market but Henry Ford had changed the landscape with mass produced automobiles.

Crude oil pipelines carrying oil from the prolific fields in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas to the refineries in the East began to cross the country.

1900-1915: The Government Acts

By now Standard Oil controlled over 80 percent of the world’s refining and transportation. John D. Rockefeller was the most powerful man in the world.

In 1890 the US government passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and an energetic young president, Theodore Roosevelt, challenged the Standard Oil Trust.

Pipeline regulation went hand in hand in 1906 as the Hepburn Act made interstate pipelines common carriers who were required to offer their services at equal cost to all shippers.

In 1912 the anti-trust litigation was final and Standard Oil dissolved into seven regional oil companies.

New Jersey    


Exxon Mobil

New York


Exxon Mobil





Sohio BP  

BP Amoco



BP Amoco







In 1913, the Valuation Act was the first attempt at Federal involvement in US pipeline ratemaking.

1917: Crude Oil Pipelines

By the advent of WW I, crude oil pipelines where traversing much of the nation.

1932: The Growth of Indiana Standard

In 1929, Colonel Stewart, then Chairman of Standard Indiana realized that while he owned the largest and best equipped refineries at Whiting, and Kansas City, he had no secure crude oil supply.

He soon acquired the Sinclair crude oil pipeline system for the unheard sum of $62 million dollars and Stanolind Pipeline Company was born.

1935: Population Shifts (Product Lines)

By the 30’s, the population continued to move west across the Mississippi River and the first product pipelines where built from Whiting, St. Louis and Kansas City to the west.

1945: Product Lines Grow During WWII

Throughout WW II, product systems grew rapidly along the eastern seaboard. 48 US oil tankers were sunk in the early stages of the war showing the US vulnerability to such attack.

Near the end of the war, pipeline regulation became the responsibility of the US Interstate Commerce Commission who introduced the notion of reasonable returns in the 8 percent to 10 percent range.

1950s-1960s: Amoco moves overseas

In the 50’s and 60’s, the balance of supply was shifting rapidly.

For the first time the US was a net importer of oil.

Indiana Standard, which would soon become Amoco, moved overseas discovering oil and gas in:

Egypt, Argentina, Trinidad, West Africa, the North Sea, Western Canada, the Caspian Sea and offshore China.

Shifting crude supply

As lower 48 oil production declined and petroleum supply came increasingly from overseas and Canada, the pipeline industry responded with major industry systems from the US Gulf Coast to the Mid West, Western Canada to the Mid West, and California to the US West Coast.

In 1954, Stanolind, the Indiana Standard pipeline company, became the largest liquid pipeline carrier in North America. A position it held to the most recent Enbridge expansion.

1968: The population Moves West

The relentless move westward continued and product pipelines followed. Also, the rise of import refineries on the US Gulf Coast led to the construction of Colonial pipeline to supply the eastern seaboard.

Colonial was the largest privately financed undertaking in US history in 1968.

1970s - 1990s: The Advent of Specialty Pipes

Modern pipelines became increasingly versatile as they were called upon to:

  • gather oil and gas over one mile beneath the ocean surface
  • transport supercritical fluid carbon dioxide for territory oil recovery
  • carry natural gas liquids for growing regional heating and olefins industries
  • and transport specialty chemicals between chemical plants and refineries.

1998: BP and Amoco Merge

On December 31, 1998, BP and Amoco united their global operations through a merger. The joining of the two companies represented, at the time, the world’s largest ever industrial merger.

Both BP and Amoco had significant investments in solar energy and share strong records and reputations for sound operating practices, and environmental and social responsibility

1999: BP Amoco Pipelines (North America) Business Unit is Formed

As a result of the combination of BP's and Amoco's North American pipeline assets, a new pipeline business unit was formed.

2000: BP Amoco and ARCO Combine

On April, 18, 2000, BP Amoco combined with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) of Los Angeles.

2000: BP Pipelines (North America)

BP Amoco Pipelines (North America) renamed BP Pipelines (North America)

2000: BP Pipelines Operates Destin Pipeline

Amoco Destin Pipeline Company, an indirect subsidiary of BP Amoco Inc., purchased the ownership interest of Southern Natural Gas in Destin Pipeline Company, LLC. As a result the Pipelines Business Unit owns approximately 67% interest in Destin Pipeline Company, LLC. The Pipelines Business Unit is the field operator of the Destin pipeline and will become is its Commercial Manager in 2002.

2000: BP Pipelines Operates Olympic Pipe Line

Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), a subsidiary of BP America Inc., purchased the stock interest of GATX Terminals Corporation in Olympic Pipe Line Company. As a result of the addition of GATX stock, the Pipelines' Business unit owns approximately 63% of the outstanding shares of Olympic Pipe Line Company.

The Olympic Pipe Line Company operates a 400-mile pipeline system that runs in a 299-mile corridor from Ferndale, Washington to Portland, Oregon. Delivery lines carry products from the mainline to bulk terminals at Seattle, Sea-Tax International Airport, Tacoma, Olympia and Vancouver, Washington and Linnton and Portland, Oregon.

Pipeline Systems Today

Looking ahead, the North American pipeline industry continues to move toward market based pricing under relatively light handed federal regulation.

The largest growth opportunities in the near term is in the Gulf of Mexico and southern US.

Recent high profile incidents have increased industry emphasis on being a premier operator with superb Health Safety Environmental (HSE) reputation.

Finally, the industry continues to restructure with integrated majors restructuring in the advent of new mid-stream players.

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