|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
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.