New Zealand business overview

Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited is New Zealand’s oldest oil company, with predecessor companies having first established a presence in the country in 1896.

Article Nov. 1, 2016

In this article

New Zealand business overview


  • New Zealand’s oldest oil company, with predecessor companies having first established a presence in the country in 1896.
  • A leading supplier of fuel to the New Zealand market. Mobil lubricants are also available in New Zealand.
  • Supplies a nationwide retail service station network of approximately 170 Mobil branded sites, of which approximately 121 are Mobil owned or leased. In addition, supplies fuel to over 150 unbranded sites.
  • Major importer and distributor of polyethylene and polypropylene for use by plastics manufacturers.
  • Operates six storage terminals/coastal bulk plants: Mt Maunganui; Wellington – Seaview and Kaiwharawhara (marine fuels); Christchurch – Woolston and Lyttelton; Bluff.
  • Operates Lyttelton-Woolston pipeline (6.4km).
  • Joint owner of two terminals with other major oil companies: Marsden Point and Wiri.
  • 17.2 percent shareholder in The New Zealand Refining Company Limited, which operates the 105kbd Marsden Point refinery in Whangarei, a major supplier to New Zealand’s retail market in Auckland.
  • Shareholding in Coastal Oil Logistics Limited, which coordinates the supply of petroleum fuels throughout New Zealand, including the operations of two coastal tankers.

Our brands

Marketed around the world, Mobil is known for performance and innovation. Mobil is recognised in New Zealand for its high quality fuels and advanced technology in lubricants.

Mobil, an ExxonMobil brand, logo

In New Zealand many of our businesses, for example Aviation, Chemicals and Marine, market their products under the ExxonMobil brand.

red exxonmobil logo

More than a century in New Zealand

Mobil was the first oil company to operate in New Zealand. We have grown up with the nation through over a century of change.

Mobil's heritage parent company, Standard Oil, began selling kerosene here in the 1870s.

Early in 1896 one of Mobil's predecessor companies, Vacuum Oil of New York, established a marketing office in Featherston Street, Wellington, selling lamp oil and harness grease for horse-drawn vehicles.

The company brought with it collective production, marketing and management skills that represented a major advance in business organisation. Vacuum's unrivalled mineral lubricant products and services soon dominated the market.

As New Zealanders started taking to the motorcar in the early 20th Century, Vacuum expanded into the fuels business. Its professional network of marketers grew along with the nation's transport fleet.

When World War I came, Vacuum was the only oil company that managed to consistently and reliably supply the country's fuel and lubricant needs and it held about 85 percent of the market.

Then in the post-World War I period, Vacuum started to face strong competition as other multi-national oil companies set up operations in New Zealand. Among them was Atlantic Union Oil Company, another heritage ExxonMobil company.

In 1933, Atlantic Union was taken over by Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) — later to become Exxon. Following this, the eastern hemisphere interests of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) were merged with those of Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, to create Standard-Vacuum Oil Company (Stanvac). The merged company continued to market in New Zealand under the separate entities, Vacuum and Atlantic Union.

As an island nation New Zealand is heavily reliant on its sea and air links. Mobil products have played a pivotal role in forging and maintaining those links. By 1936 over 90 percent of all New Zealand and Australian motorised ships were Vacuum lubricated. The aviation pioneers who established air links across the Pacific, including Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm and Oscar Gardens, relied on Stanvac products to fuel and lubricate their planes. 

Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, the company continued to provide new products, advance technologies, expand business lines and establish new markets. Such growth caused issues with the Anti-trust Board in the US and in 1962 Stanvac and its assets were re-divided between Atlantic Union Oil (Esso) and Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (Mobil).

The Atlantic Union people and assets in New Zealand were subsequently absorbed into the new Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited.

Then on November 30, 1999, the global businesses of Exxon Corporation and Mobil Oil Corporation were merged and Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited became part of the world's premier petroleum and petrochemical company, Exxon Mobil Corporation.

As an integrated oil company our history in New Zealand has involved a series of companies whose activities included exploration, production, refining, marketing, research and product development, mining, petrochemical production, transport and real estate.

Brand names and products have come and gone but the essence of what is now ExxonMobil has remained throughout our more than 120 years of history in this country.

Principal companies in New Zealand

Exxon Mobil Corporation is the world's premier petroleum and petrochemical company with a presence in most of the world's countries. ExxonMobil's business in New Zealand is managed through a number of companies including:

  • ExxonMobil New Zealand Holdings
  • Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited
  • ExxonMobil Chemical New Zealand Limited

The registered address for the above companies is:
c/- Russell McVeagh
48 Shortland Street
PO Box 8
Auckland 1140
New Zealand

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