Unocal Corporation

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The Unocal Corporation Template:Nyse, based in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1890 as the Union Oil Company of California. Unocal is also known as Unocal 76. Union 76 gasoline is no longer sold by the company, which sold its retail operations to ConocoPhillips. In April 2005, the company agreed to a merger with ChevronTexaco; however, in June 2005, the Chinese oil company Cnooc made a rival $18.5 billion bid.



Unocal was founded on October 17, 1890, when it was incorporated in Santa Paula, California, as the Union Oil Company of California. The company was formed by the merger of co-founders Lyman Stewart, Thomas Bard, and Wallace Hardison's holdings. Union Oil moved its headquarters to Los Angeles in 1901. The company expanded to national status in 1965, when Union Oil merged with the Pure Oil Company of Illinois. Over the next two decades, Union became the major oil producer in southern Alaska and a major natural gas producer in the Gulf of Mexico. The company was reorganized in 1983 and the Union Oil Company of California became an operating subsidiary of a new holding company, Unocal Corporation.

Central Asia

Unocal was one of the key players in the CentGas consortium, an attempt to build a pipeline to run from the Caspian area, through Afghanistan and probably Pakistan, to the Persian Gulf. One of the consultants to Unocal at that time is Zalmay Khalilzad, now appointed US ambassador to Afghanistan. The CentGas pipeline was not built, due to inability of CentGas and the Taliban to come to a mutually acceptable economic understanding, despite pressure from Washington. Shortly thereafter, the US invaded Afghanistan, removing Taliban control from Afghanistan and making moot the question of their renumeration.

Unocal is also the third largest member of the recently completed and opened Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Sea.


Unocal was charged with numerous human rights violations in the construction of the Yadana Pipeline in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Since 1988, Myanmar has been governed by a particularly unstable and militaristic regime. It was neccesary to hire the Burmese military to protect the pipeline from insurgents and terrorists. The soldiers have been accused by villagers in the vicinity of the pipeline of torture, rape and forced labor. Unocal condemns these actions and points out that the company does not control the Burmese military and did not hire them to police residents. Prosecutors cite the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789, an old law originally designed to aid victims of pirates. The Department of Justice has taken measures to repeal the law due to its age. It is said to interfere with US foreign relations. This would nullify all lawsuits filed under the act since 1980.

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