In May 1908 a group of British geologists discovered a large amount of oil at Masjid-i-Suleiman in Mohammerah, today the Iranian province of Khuzestan. It was the first commercially significant find of oil in the Middle East. William Knox D'Arcy, by contract with the Emir of Mohammerah, Sheikh Khaz'al Khan al-Kaabi, obtained permission to explore for oil for the first time in the Middle East. This event changed the history of the Middle East. The oil discovery led to petrochemical industry development and also the establishment of industries that strongly depended on oil. On 14 April 1909, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was incorporated as a subsidiary of Burmah Oil Company. Some of the shares were sold to the public. The first chairman and minority shareholder of the company became Lord Strathcona.
The Royal Dutch Shell Group was created in February 1907 through the amalgamation of two rival companies: the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company of the Netherlands and the "Shell" Transport and Trading Company Ltd of the United Kingdom. It was a move largely driven by the need to compete globally with Standard Oil. The Royal Dutch Petroleum Company was a Dutch company founded in 1890 to develop an oilfield in Pangkalan Brandan, North Sumatra, and initially led by August Kessler, Hugo Loudon, and Henri Deterding. The "Shell" Transport and Trading Company (the quotation marks were part of the legal name) was a British company, founded in 1897 by Marcus Samuel, 1st Viscount Bearsted, and his brother Samuel Samuel. Their father had owned an antique company in Houndsditch, London, which expanded in 1833 to import and sell sea-shells, after which the company "Shell" took its name.
One of Chevron's early predecessors, Star Oil, discovered oil at the Pico Canyon Oilfield in the Santa Susana Mountains north of Los Angeles in 1876. The 25 barrels of oil per day well marked the discovery of the Newhall Field, and is considered by geophysicist Marius Vassiliou as the beginning of the modern oil industry in California. Energy analyst Antonia Juhasz has said that while Star Oil's founders were influential in establishing an oil industry in California, Union Mattole Company discovered oil in the state eleven years prior.
In September 1879, Charles N. Felton, Lloyd Tevis, George Loomis and others created the Pacific Coast Oil Company, which acquired the assets of Star Oilwith $1 million in funding. Pacific Coast Oil became the largest oil interest in California, by time it was acquired by Standard Oil for $761,000 in 1900. Pacific Coast operated independently and retained its name until 1906, when it was merged with a Standard Oil subsidiary and it became Standard Oil Company (California) or California Standard.
Texaco was founded in Beaumont, Texas as the Texas Fuel Company in 1901. In 1905, it established an operation in Antwerp, Belgium, under the name Continental Petroleum Company, which it acquired control of in 1913. The next year, Texaco moved to new offices in Houston on the corner of San Jacinto and Rusk. In 1928, Texaco became the first U.S. oil company to sell its gasoline nationwide under one single brand name in all 48 states (50 states after Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union in 1959).
In 1931, Texaco purchased Indian Oil Company, based in Illinois. This expanded Texaco's refining and marketing base in the Midwest and also gave Texaco the rights to Indian's Havoline motor oil, which became a Texaco product. The next year, Texaco introduced Fire Chief gasoline nationwide, a so-called "super-octane" motor fuel touted as meeting or exceeding government standards for gasoline for fire engines and other emergency vehicles. It was promoted through a radio program over NBC hosted by Ed Wynn, called the Texaco Fire Chief.