1901 - '10
In this era, preparations were soon underway for the coming oil age as the inventions of the petroleum internal-combustion engine, car and aeroplane coincided with new technological developments, oilfields were discovered in quick succession around the world, and major oil companies were established in each country.
In 1900, Samuel and Company, which had started in Japan as an international trading business in Yokohama, created an independent petroleum division. It subsequently set up Rising Sun Petroleum Co. Ltd (which later became Shell Petroleum) to expand its distribution channels of candles and kerosene for lamps.
Before long, Samuel and Company, which expanded as Shell Transport, merged with Royal Dutch to form Royal Dutch/Shell. Rising Sun Petroleum continued to expand its operations as the base of the Shell Group in Japan. At the same time, oilfields were discovered in Japan along the coast of the Japan Sea primarily in Niigata Prefecture. Hayama Sekiyu and Niitsu Sekiyu, the predecessors of Showa Sekiyu, were established amidst the production of domestic petroleum.
1911 - '20
With developments such as the internal-combustion engine and the marine boiler, the supply of energy from kerosene and industrial fuels established petroleum as a crucial energy and basic production resource. The experiences of the First World War demonstrated petroleum to be an important military material exerting influence on the survival of nations.
The First World War was also a major turning point for the world petroleum industry. In Japan, the Navy continued to increase its presence as the largest consumer in the heavy oil market.
With the demand from the military, domestic petroleum corporations were repeatedly restructured to expand their corporate scale, and productivity continued to increase as a result of advanced technologies introduced through collaboration with foreign companies.
The proliferation of automobiles in Japan came later than in the west. In 1918, the total number of passenger vehicles and trucks passed the 4,500 mark, and the demand for gasoline gradually increased. Rising Sun marketed its gasoline under the "Red Shell Symbol" and "Black Shell Symbol" brands.