Total in United States


Petrofina merges with Pauley Petroleum Inc


Creation of Aquitaine Oil Corp by the SNPA


Petrofina creates the American Petrofina Exploration


The CFP creates Total American


Petrofina launches the construction of a new catalytic cracker in Port Arthur


Petrofina makes several discoveries


Total embarks on a policy of buying land reserves including AMR Energy


Elf drills in the Gulf of Mexico


Elf Aquitaine acquires Texas Gulf


Creation of Elf Aquitaine Petroleum (EAP) to take over the assets of Elf Aquitaine Texasgulf Oil & Gas.


Petrofina takes over a distribution network

September 6th , 1920 marks the creation of Purfina, a joint venture between the Belgian Oil Finance Company and Puritan Oil Cy (Pure Oil thereafter), an American company located on the east coast of the United States. This joint venture is set up in Antwerp. This association with Pure Oil is explained by the majority American supply of Belgium. It will not be successful, but it highlights the position of the Belgian Oil Finance Company: international and market oriented. It is the property of Charles Dawes, who will be Vice-President of the United States, author of the Plan that bears his name, friend of Aloys Van de Vyvère, future President of Petrofina.


1920 - 1969


  • 1958, Petrofina, through its Mexican subsidiary Mexofina, merges with Pauley Petroleum Inc. which has operations in Mexico and the United States.

  • 1962, Petrofina acquired new reserves.

  • 1964, Creation of the Aquitaine Oil Corp, by SNPA to access upstream in the United States: obtaining permits in Arizona in association with Murphy and Skelly.

  • 1964, Petrofina creates the American Petrofina Exploration (APEX) to revive the exploration effort in this country, particularly in Alaska (Cook Inlet Basin), Oklahoma, Texas, … APEX also oversees the acquisition of North Sea upstream assets.



  • 1924, Beginning  of ethylene glycol production in Charleston by Union Carbide (vehicle antifreeze).

  • 1931, First production of polystyrene in a US Rubber unit in the United States.

  • 1937, Petrofina signs product supply contract (220,000 tons) with SO of New Jersey (Exxon) and Southern Minerals

  • 1939, During the spring, Petrofina signs an agreement with SO of New Jersey (Exxon), a two-year, 400,000-tons supply contract to build a common aviation gasoline production unit in Dunkirk.

  • 1948, The CFP creates a permanent representation in the United States, with an office in New York

  • 1964, the Cosden (Petrofina) plant is enlarged, a cyclohexane unit is under construction, and an alkylation unit. The Cobenam also expands its polyethylene production capabilities.

Internal paper annoucing the acquisition of Cosden Copper
Internal paper annoucing the acquisition of Cosden Copper. DR Total
  • 1966, The CFP creates in the United States the company Total American, incorporated in Delaware, to manage the acquisitions of industrial interests in that country. Total American owns 39% of TOP(NA) (Total Petroleum North America) and 100% of Leonard Refineries.

Leonard Refineries
Leonard Refineries. DR Total
  • 1968, Petrofina’s investments are specifically targeted at the Big Spring refinery, which has completed the construction of a 2.5 MT distillation facility and closes the small Colorado City refinery.

1970 - 1979


  • Petrofina’s production in 1974 was 1096 KT and 560 Mm3, up 4.7% and 5.7%.

  • 1975, TCMN (Total Mining and Nuclear Company) explores in the United States.

  • 1975, Aquitaine Pennsylvania, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aquitaine Cy of Canada (Elf Aquitaine), takes control of Westrans Industries, which produces 1.5 MT of coal in the United States.

  • 1976, the CFP acquires the Hanover Petroleum Corp in the United States: TOP(NA) can explore all states of the United States.

  • 1976, TOP(NA) produced 296 KT of oil and 226 Mm3 of gas in Michigan, Illinois, the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. It enters into an agreement for the acquisition of Hanover Petroleum Corp.

  • 1977, Petrofina made several discoveries in Wyoming, Texas and Arkansas.

  • 1979 Petrofina enters four blocks off Santa

  • 1979, Petrofina commissiones two continuous polystyrene production units in Calumet City.

  • 1979, Total established Anthracorp Inc in the United States to develop a mine in Pennsylvania.



  • 1970, Opening of Petrofina’s Calumet City (U.S.) facility.

  • 1973, Fina’s sales in the United States are up sharply thanks to the acquisition of the Sohio (Standard Oil of Ohio) network.

  • 1976, Fina refineries process 23.8 MT worldwide, with 84% use in the United States

  • 1976, Petrofina launches construction of a new catalytic cracker in Port Arthur and shuts down Kansas refinery

  • 1976, American Petrofina signs an agreement with Goodrich to manufacture and sell ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene).

1980 - 1989


  • 1980, Little Discoveries by TOP (NA).

  • 1982, Petrofina signs an association agreement with Texas Oil & Gas to acquire a 25% stake in the previously unserved areas of the company on which a 10-year drilling program is planned

  • 1982, the coal assets of Total were reorganized around the Frontier Coal subsidiary. The development of the Anthracite Corporation mine in Pennsylvania begins.

  • 1983, Total’s subsidiary produces 350,000 tonnes of coal

  • 1984, Elf obtains new permits in the United States

  • 1984, Elf makes several discoveries: Wapiti 1, Ship Shoal 178/1, East High Island 129/9 (United States, Gulf of Mexico, oil and gas, offshore); Point Pedernales (California, oil, offshore). As well as Petrofina in particular in the Gulf of Mexico (notably High Island A571).

  • 1985, New license off Louisiana (United States) for Elf.

Gas production platform off Louisiana
Gas production platform off Louisiana. ©Liesse Gabriel - Total
  • 1985, Petrofina acquires an interest in a coal-producing company in Kentucky.

  • 1986, Texasgulf (Elf) produces gold, silver and platinum

  • 1986, Total embarks on a policy of purchasing land reserves, notably from AMR Energy in the United States)

  • 1986, Petrofina acquires Williams' interests in Louisiana, Texas and Colorado.

  • 1987, Elf drills in the Gulf of Mexico and border areas. It joins Idemitsu.

Platform in the Gulf of Mexico
Platform in the Gulf of Mexico. ©Gstalder Philippe - Total 
  • 1987, Petrofina acquires the land properties of the Exploration Company of Louisiana and obtains an interest in twelve blocks.

  • 1987 Elf Aquitaine Petroleum began production on the Ewin Bank 306 (Gulf of Mexico) and Point Perdernales fields off California.

  • 1987, Petrofina opens two other coal sites

  • 1988, Total takes over the assets of CSX, which has interests in the United States

  • 1988, Total decides to sell the upstream TOP(NA) assets in order to focus on downstream competitiveness.

  • 1988, Elf Aquitaine Petroleum acquires all oil and gas assets held in the United States by Roy M. Huffington (Huffco Group).

  • 1988, Petrofina purchases Tenneco’s upstream interests in Louisiana and Texas, where it doubles its hydrocarbon reserves.

  • 1988 Elf Aquitaine Petroleum begins production in the Gulf of Mexico and Michigan fields.

  • 1989, EAP gets nine new blocks.

  • 1989, Elf discovers a few fields (gas in Cameroon 167 and 144, Eugene Island 184 and South Tumbalier 226) and produces two gas discoveries in Michigan (Rose Lake and Riverside) and eight fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • 1989, Petrofina divests most of its coal operations to the United States



  • 1980, Transfer of ABS and SAN Manufacturing from Big Spring to Calumet City.

  • 1981: Cooperation agreement between Sanofi (a pharmaceutical subsidiary of Elf) and American Home Products for the creation of a joint subsidiary in the United States.

  • 1981 Elf Aquitaine acquires Texas Gulf (fertilizers, sulphur, mines, hydrocarbons)

  • 1982, Petrofina starts an ethylbenzene unit in Careville.

  • 1983, Elf Aquitaine’s interests in the United States are grouped into Elf Aquitaine Inc. Elf Aquitaine Petroleum (EAP) to take over the assets of Elf Aquitaine Texasgulf Oil & Gas.

  • 1983, Petrofina acquires a network of 170 gas stations in the United States.

  • 1983, To develop its reinsurance insurance business, Petrofina acquires an interest in an insurance group in the United States

  • 1984, Petrofina acquired interests in about 50 concessions in the United States, the Gulf of Mexico and northern Alaska.

  • 1984, Petrofina takes over a distribution network in the United States.

  • 1985, Petrofina establishes a reinsurance company

  • 1986, Hutchinson acquires Corduroy, an antivibratory company

  • 1987, M&T Chemicals (Elf) acquires Viking, an epoxy soybean oil producer, and Vulcan’s “Tin Chemistry” branch.

M&T research center
M&T research center. ©Gstalder Philippe - Total 
  • 1987, Total acquires a refinery in Denver, USA.

Total truck in front of Denver Refinery
Total truck in front of Denver Refinery. ©Liesse Gabriel - Total
  • 1987, La Seigneurie takes control of Decratend Paints

  • 1988, Hutchinson acquires Pioneer Industrial Products

  • 1988, Petrofina commissiones a new polypropylene production unit at La Porte, near Houston, bringing the site’s capacity to 380 KT, making it the third largest in the United States.

  • 1988, Sanofi acquires Geoffrey Beene (Eau de Toilette for Men).

  • 1989, Total acquires a network of gas stations in Arkansas and Texas.

Since 1990


  • 1990, Elf produces ten fields, including Eugene Island 184 and Ewin Bank 947.

  • 1990, Total gives up the Fort Union coal mine

Fort Union coal mine
Fort Union coal mine. ©Liesse Gabriel - Total
  • 1992, Elf decides to move to quit upstream in the United States because of a lack of profits.

  • 1993, Petrofina makes small discoveries.

  • 1994, Petrofina discovers King Bee and Calvin

  • 1996, Petrofina discovers two fields: Mac Allen Pharr in Texas and Mecom Ranch and releases Genesis

  • 1997, Atotech (Elf) combines its production and research activities with Rock Hill.

  • 1998, Elf makes condensate gas discoveries at Specter

  • 1999, Elf discovers Matterhorn and Aconcagua fields

  • 2010, Total E&P USA Inc. signs an agreement with Chesapeake to create a joint venture and acquire 25% of Chesapeake’s portfolio in Barnett Shales, Texas.

  • 2011, Total strengthens its partnership with Amyris in biofuels and shale gas by signing a second agreement with Chesapeake for the Utica deposits.

  • 2012, the Group makes an important discovery in the Gulf of Mexico.



  • 1990, Total introduces Convenience Blinds at most of Total’s gas stations, which volumes sold have increased by more than 42% in the previous past three years.

  • 1990, Petrofina begins the expansion of Cosmar, increasing its capacity to 900,000 T/yr, making it the largest styrene plant in the world.

  • 1990, Elf Technologies Inc (ETI, a venture capital subsidiary of Elf Group in the United States) takes an 11% of interests in Quest Technology Corp., 4% in Enzytech, 14% in Shaman Pharmaceuticals and 6% in Advanced Technology Materials.

  • 1990, Elf acquires Continental Flavors and fragrances.

  • 1992, Petrofina concentrates its distribution activities in 11 states near its refineries

  • 1992, Petrofina sells its Cape Industries plant to stop production of terephthalates.

  • 1994, Total’s fuel distribution network includes 1,900 stations in the United States, Petrofina’s 2,600.

  • 1995, The Resins division of Total acquires companies in the United States

  • 1995, Bostik (Total) buys the copolyesters activity of Shell Chemicals in the United States

  • 1996, Petrofina acquires a 34.4% interest in Southwest Convenience Store, one of its distributors in the United States.

  • 1996, Hutchinson launches a new plant in Byrdstone

  • 1997, TOP(NA) merges with Ultramar Diamond Shamrock becoming Ultramar with Total holding 8%

  • 1997, Hutchinson acquires ABT (gloves for sterile room).

  • 1997, In the resin sector, CCP (Total) takes over Composites Material Inc.

  • 1998, Hutchinson commissions a plant for automotive anti-vibration parts.

  • 1999, Hutchinson acquires Kingston Warren specialized in sealing.

  • 1999, Bostik acquires HB Fuller

  • 1999, after the merger, Atotech acquires McGean Rohco’s metallization and anti-corrosion assets

  • 2008, Total launches a project in Port Arthur to reconstruct a cocker, a desulphurization unit, a vacuum distillation unit and associated units.

  • 2010, Total transfers specialty chemistry activities to the American group Jarden Corporation.

  • 2011, Total buys 60% of SunPower’s capital and becomes a world leader in solar energy

  • 2013, Construction of Solar Star, California, the world’s largest solar photovoltaic plant. 

Solar Star plant
Solar Star plant. ©Courtesy of SunPower Corp. - Total
  • 2015, the Solar Star power plant put  in production and the construction of the Henriette power station begins

  • 2015, Total opens its Bio-Process Platform, a laboratory for testing and developing biomass fermentation processes.

Bio Process laboratory
Bio Process laboratory. ©CHOU Jessica - Total