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Of Dinosaurs And Oil

December 6, 2012

If there’s one oil company that connects the history of how oil is made then it Sinclair Oil Corporation.  Its trademark is an apatosaurus or as more people know a brontosaurus.  As the company states the age of the dinosaurs is representative of the beginning of crude oil formation.

Sinclair Oil Corporation was founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916 by combining the assets of 11 small petroleum companies and was known as Sinclair Oil and Refining Corporation.  It underwent some structural changes having been combined with other related industries.  The company got its current name, Sinclair Oil Corporation in 1943.

Sinclair Oil was able to weather the Great Depression by selling its pipeline assets before the start of the depression as well as additional common stock issue. It retired its debt and still had some cash left to weather the downturn. In fact the company was able to save other petroleum companies during the Great Depression.

It was a public company until 1969 when it became a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). In 1976 Arco spun off Sinclair by selling some assets to R.E. Holdings.  It has been owned by Holdings ever since and is a private company. In 22 western and midwestern US states there are more than 2,700 Sinclair-branded service stations and convenience stores with the familiar green brontosaur logo owned by independent operators.

Sinclair Oil has two oil refineries and more than 1,000 miles of pipelines. It also has exploration operations and a trucking fleet. The company has been buying oil from independent oil producers and selling them through independent outlets.  Sinclair oil has thus helped a great number of entrepreneurs while itself being a large independent oil company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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