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Shell's corporate presence in the Philippines dates back to 1914 when Shell organized a trading office in the Philippines. Business then largely involved the importation and sale of kerosene mainly for household use in Manila and outlying areas.

By 1940, spurred by the growing Philippine economy, a sizeable range of Shell products was being sold to more areas in the Philippines through installations and depots set up in strategic points throughout the country.

In 1960, Shell built its first crude refinery in Tabangao, Batangas, which commenced operations in 1962. This made Shell a complete downstream business engaged not only in trading, transport and distribution, but also in the manufacture and refining of petroleum products.

The birth of the refining era was accompanied by further business expansion.

Shell pursued interests in the marketing of chemicals and crop protection products to support the fast growth in the agricultural sector during the 1960s.

In the late 1970s, Shell began its involvement in upstream activities (oil and gas exploration and production) to reduce the country's dependence on imported oil.

To meet the rising demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Asia, Shell began in the early 1980s the construction of a refrigerated LPG terminal that would supply domestic LPG needs of the Philippines and its Asian neighbours. The first of its kind in Asia, Shell's refrigerated LPG terminal began operations in 1983.

In the conduct of its business, Shell has always been conscious of its obligations to society. In 1982, Shell formed the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. to begin its direct participation in social development through industrial and agricultural skills training, livelihood and entrepreneurship training, promotion of science and technology education, and other community development programs around Shell work sites.

The foundation has helped make a brighter future for thousands of out-of-school youths, farmers, students, military dependents and other disadvantaged segments of society.

In 1986, Pilipinas Shell took over majority ownership of Philippine Petroleum Corporation, the country's only lube oil refinery.

In 1990, Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) signed a service contract with Occidental Philippines Inc. to invest in oil and gas exploration in offshore Northwest Palawan. Using state-of-the-art technology in one of the deepest waters in the world, the joint venture discovered significant oil and gas reserves in the Malampaya/Camago field.

Further strengthening its commitment to meet the country's increasing fuel needs, Pilipinas Shell began in 1993 the construction of a bigger and more modern refinery adjacent to its existing facility in Tabangao.

Completed in 1995, the 110,000 barrels per day refinery boosted Shell's refining capacity to 155,000 barrels per day, becoming Pilipinas Shell's share in helping the country move forward to a better future as envisioned in the government's Philippines 2000 program.

The new refinery enables Pilipinas Shell to produce petroleum products which are more responsive to the needs of the country and the environment.

Its energy-efficient processing facility enables it to produce more middle distillates to augment the country's diesel fuel requirements. The new refinery is also capable of producing unleaded gasoline and low sulphur diesel.

This 1998, SPEX begins the development and construction of the Malampaya field for the commercial production of natural gas in the country by the year 2002. The gas-to-power project is seen as the largest and most significant investment in the history of Philippine business, with a total financing requirement of approximately US$2.0 billion.

It is expected to generate a substantial income for the Philippine government over the life of the field, reduce reliance on imported fuels from 20% to 30%, and provide an alternative environment-friendly fuel for power generation.

The beginning

In 1833 Marcus Samuel opened a small shop in London, selling sea shells to Victorian natural history enthusiasts. It soon became a thriving import-export business. On a visit to the Caspian Sea coast, Marcus's son recognised a huge opportunity to export oil for lamps and cooking to the Far East. He commissioned the first special oil tanker in 1892, and subsequently delivered 4,000 tonnes of Russian kerosene to Singapore and Bangkok.

Meanwhile, the company Royal Dutch had been formed in the Netherlands to develop oil fields in Asia. By 1896 it had its own tanker fleet to compete with the British.

In time, it became obvious that the competing Dutch and British companies would do better working together. In 1907, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies was created to incorporate their operations worldwide.

Throughout the early twentieth century, the Group expanded with acquisitions in Europe, Africa and the Americas. These were exciting times for the oil industry, as the mass production of cars had opened up a vast new market.

The First World War years saw many of Shell's operations closed down or confiscated; but others were added or expanded, particularly in North America.

In 1919, Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic - powered by Shell fuel. Shell Aviation Services was established that same year.

The 1920s and 1930s were expansion years, with Shell businesses in new regions and new industry sectors; Shell's first foray into chemicals began in 1929.

During the Second World War, Shell once again lost businesses, tankers and properties, but supported the Allied Governments with fuel supplies and chemical production.

The post war period

Following the Second World War, an enormous effort began to replace and expand Shell's facilities for production, transport and refining to meet the new pressures on demand.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Shell's oil output and sales increased dramatically, to the point where Shell supplied almost one-seventh of the world's oil products. This period was also important for the development of natural gas as an alternative source of energy.

In the 1970s, Shell made major oil & gas discoveries in the North Sea, just off the coast of Scotland. At the same time, an economic recession combined with a steep rise in the price of crude oil had a serious impact on the oil business.

People turned to natural gas. By the end of the decade, gas accounted for about 15% of Europe's energy consumption, with Shell and its partners supplying about half. Liquified natural gas (LNG) - which Shell helped to pioneer - also performed well. Meanwhile, Shell was developing its long term interests in coal and metals.

In the 1980s, Shell companies installed advanced technology, launched new products and services, and explored solutions to environmental concerns. Shell began to sell unleaded petrol, and subsequently gained a worldwide leadership position.

With the 1990s came lower oil prices, and a concentration on Shell's core businesses - mainly oil, gas and chemicals. By mid-decade, Shell had started to look ahead to the new millennium and what would be required of energy companies.

As a result, fundamental changes have occurred and continue to be made in the Group. Sustainable development practices are gradually being integrated throughout the Shell business. These, and a commitment to people, the planet and profits will help Shell retain a competitive advantage.

Shell has been a successful energy company for over 100 years - and aims to carry on being a successful energy company well into the next century.