Total in Belgium


Creation of the Belgium financial company of petroleum (PetroFina)


Creation of PureFina in partnership with Pure Oil of Delaware


PetroFina becomes Fina


First researches in the North Sea


Discovery of the oilfield of Ekofisk (North sea)


Construction of the biggest steamcracker of the world (in partnership with BASF)


Fusion with Total: TotalFina


Fusion between TotalFina and ELF which become TotalFinaElf Group

Total’s history in Belgium began in 1920 with the creation of the Belgium financial company of petroleum, which became Petrofina.


1920 - 1938

The beginnings of Petrofina

  • February 25, 1920 is born in Antwerp, the "Compagnie financière belge des pétroles". Its telegraph address "Petrofina" became its usual name in 1922. With a capital of 50 million francs, it hosts the elite of industrial and financial circles in Belgium, including Antwerp. The presidency of the company is entrusted to Emile Francqui, administrator in Congo, diplomat and minister.

  • September 6, 1920, Petrofina signs an agreement with a petroleum company on the East Coast of the United States, the Puritan Oil Company of Delaware, the future Pure Oil. It leads to the creation in Antwerp of a joint venture, Purfina. Petroleum products will be marketed under the brand PURFINA.

  • In 1923, Petrofina became the 100% owner of Purfina after buying the shares of Puritan Oil Company of Delaware (Pure Oil). Deposits are created in the main cities of Belgium and four hangars are built in Antwerp for the filling and repair of drums, cans and bottles of kerosene and gasoline. Petrofina acquires the small Ertvelde refinery, not far from Ghent, for the manufacture of lubricants and medicinal oils.

  • 1924, Purfina Transport is created and acquires a first ship, the Sergeant-Sergeant, a 6,000-ton ship.

  • 1931, Petrofina creates PALMAFINA, which distributes food and sanitary products (table oil, margarine, soap, and later livestock feed).

  • 1936, Petrofina, through an agreement with a small company, the Belgian Cracking Company, enters the refining sector by taking over a small refinery in Langerbrugge.

1939 - 1949

A company in turmoil

  • 1940, the Germans covet the assets of Petrofina, and more particularly the company Concordia and its 750 000 tonnes of crude produced annually in Romania. The company, which transferred part of its shares in France at the beginning of May 1940, is forced to execute. In September, Ferdinand Carlier, then CEO of Petrofina, sells the Concordia titles to the Germans. An assignment that will be worth some trouble after the war.

  • December 28, 1942, Petrofina's ship President Francqui is sunk.

  • 1944, the Ertvelde refinery is destroyed.

  • June 19, 1945, Petrofina is sequestrated by the Belgian State and will remain so until September 3, 1946.

  • January 27, 1949, Petrofina and BP sign Heads of Agreement for a joint refining development in Belgium. Constitution of the SIBP (Belgian Industrial Petroleum Company), a joint subsidiary, which undertakes studies to build a refinery of 30 kbj. Antwerp is envisaged as the place of establishment of this refinery.

1950 - 1969

Time for reconstruction

  • 1950, Petrofina launches the Purfina-Angleterre, a tanker with a capacity of 16,500 tons.

purfina angleterre
  • June 23, 1952, the Antwerp refinery is inaugurated in the presence of His Majesty King Baudouin.

  • 1952, the headquarters of Petrofina passes from Antwerp to Brussels, at 12 rue de l'Industrie.

siège petrofina
  • In 1953, Petrofina teams up with leading Belgian chemical groups to build a chemical plant near the Antwerp refinery. Thus is born the company Petrochim which Petrofina then holds 10% of the capital.

  • 1954, Petrofina commissions catalytic cracking and catalytic polymerization in Antwerp. It signs with Petrochim an agreement providing the supply of gas for petrochemicals.

  • 1958, Petrofina abandons in 1958 the brand PURFINA for a new brand, simpler, easier to pronounce, more international too: FINA.

station fina
  • 1960, RAP and REPAL undertake refining and distribution operations in Benelux from the Albatros refinery in Antwerp.

  • 1964, ethylene oxide plants explode in Antwerp, killing five people. Petrofina decides to build a steam cracker for the production of propylene, butadiene and benzene (250 KT).

  • In the summer of 1964, Petrofina launched the "Happy Holidays" loyalty campaign. Motorists stopping at one of the Group's service stations are offered FINA brand inflatable buoys and mattresses.

  • 1967, ELF products are also sold in Belgium (120 points of sale).

station elf
  • 1968, Petrofina creates a geophysical research center in Brussels.

  • • 1969, Belgochim is set up for the implementation of the petrochemical project of Feluy.

1970 - 1989

  • 1972, the Feluy refinery is inaugurated.

  • 1978, Petrofina sells its factory in Ertvelde.

  • 1979, Petrofina starts production of extruded polystyrene insulation board at its factory in Manage, Belgium.

  • 1980, Petrofina opens two research laboratories in Feluy, close to the polystyrene and polypropylene plants.

  • 1983, Petrofina is engaged as an operator in a hydrocarbon research program in the south of Belgium.

  • 1985, Petrofina decides to regroup its "fatty acids" activity and its plastic transformation activity (essentially Manage's plant) into a single company.

  • April 1, 1988, Petrofina becomes sole owner of the Antwerp refinery.

  • 1989, Petrofina acquires a petroleum storage terminal and a white goods pipeline for refueling the depots from the Antwerp refinery.

1990 - 1999

Market time

  • In 1990, Petrofina continued its refinery-warehousing infrastructure policy in Belgium by purchasing the Feluy Tanking terminal at Seneffe and a depot in Brussels, both connected by pipeline to Antwerp. As part of the plan to modernize its network, the Belgian group uses a renowned Belgian architect, Philippe Samyn, to build several service stations. Among them, Wanlin, in Belgium, recognizable by its membrane structure, or even Nivelles, which stretches its fine silhouette all glass and steel.

  • 1991, Petrofina is admitted to the London Stock Exchange. The company is commissioning a new lubricants plant in Ertvelde; Elf buys Mobil's assets in LPG in Belgium.

  • 1992, Fina develops a new oil with a German car manufacturer, the Fina First Racing 5W50.

bison fina
  • 1995, In order to develop its lubricant sales, Fina signs an agreement with the truck manufacturer DAF.

  • September 3, 1997, Petrofina is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • 1999, the merger between Total and Petrofina is carried out, the new company takes the name of Totalfina.