Following is a brief history of Ashland Oil as it appeared on their website around 2002. The current website for "Ashland, Inc." doesn't include this information.....I suspect that's because Ashland now calls itself a "diversified chemical company" no longer owns any oil and gas related businesses.

1924: Paul G. Blazer named general manager of Ashland Refining Company of Ashland, KY., a refining arm of Swiss Oil Company of Lexington. Principal operation is a small refinery in Catlettsburg, KY.

1930: Purchase of Tri-State Refining Company increases capacity to 5,500 barrels per day.

1931: Acquisition of Cumberland Pipeline Company's eastern Kentucky pipeline network assures adequate supply of crude oil.

1936: Under Blazer's leadership, Ashland Refining merges with Swiss Oil to form Ashland Oil & Refining Company.

1942: As part of the government's World War II effort, an aviation gasoline plant is built near the Catlettsburg refinery. The aviation fuel plant later becomes Ashland's No. 2 refinery.

1946: Products are sold for the first time under the brand name "Ashland".

1948: Ashland and Allied Oil merger includes Canton, Ohio, refinery and a broader marketing base.

1949: Through Aetna Oil merger, Ashland acquires Kentucky retail marketing operation. Freedom-Valvoline merger follows, bringing Valvoline, the oldest brand motor oil, and a third refinery at Freedom, Pa.

1950: Frontier Oil Refining of Buffalo, N.Y., and National Refining of Cleveland, Ohio, join Ashland. These acquisitions result in two additional refineries and a Great Lakes marketing area for Ashland.

1956: Marketing success of specialty products focuses attention on petrochemicals. Operation expands with acquisition of R. J. Brown Company of St. Louis.

1963: United Carbon acquisition increases involvement in chemical and petrochemical businesses.

1966: Ashland enters the highway construction and construction materials business with the acquisition of Warren Brothers.

1967: With purchase of ADM Chemical Group, Ashland Chemical is formed, consolidating chemical manufacturing and sales operations.

1968: Ashland's sales surpass $1 billion annually.

1969: Ashland Petroleum, the company's largest operating division, is formed. Arch Mineral, a 50-percent-owned coal affiliate, is formed.

1970: Shareholders approve changing company's name to Ashland Oil, Inc. Northwestern Refining of St. Paul, Minn., is acquired, adding a refinery and the SuperAmerica retail marketing chain.

1971: Exploration and production activities consolidated into Ashland Exploration.

1973: OPEC dramatically increases prices of petroleum products. Ashland Exploration enters a production-sharing agreement with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

1975: Construction division is formed, and Ashland Coal is created.

1981: New corporate strategy is adopted to strengthen refining and marketing, improve the balance sheet and build earnings from related, non-refining businesses. Ashland is reorganized as a modified holding company.

1983: RCC® Process unit at Catlettsburg refinery provides greater flexibility of crude oil slate and product mix.

1986: Ashland forms Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

1990: The $92 million acquisition of OXY USA Inc.'s Appalachian Basin natural gas properties more than doubles acreage in the area.

1991: Ashland nearly triples its domestic crude oil gathering capacity through the acquisition of The Permian Corporation and its merger with Scurlock Oil Company.

1992: Ashland Chemical acquires most of Unocal's chemical distribution business, establishing the IC&S Division as the No. 1 distributor of chemicals and solvents in North America. Ashland's annual sales surpass $10 billion for the first time.

1993: Ashland Petroleum completes the major portion of a refinery capital expenditure program that enhances refining flexibility, further reduces emissions and enables the company to make new fuels.

1994: Ashland celebrates its 70th anniversary. Valvoline acquires Zerex, the nation's No. 2 brand of antifreeze.

1995: Ashland invests more than $368 million in 14 acquisitions to strengthen its related energy and chemical businesses. In addition, shareholders approve changing the company's name to Ashland Inc. to better reflect the company's diverse operations.

1997: Ashland signs definitive agreement with Marathon to combine the two companies' refining, marketing and transportation assets. Ashland sells its domestic oil and gas properties for $566 million, and the company's two coal investments merge to form Arch Coal, Inc.

1998: Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC begins operation Jan. 1. Ashland owns 38 percent of this joint-venture company, the nation's sixth largest refiner. Valvoline acquires Eagle One Industries of Carlsbad, Calif., a producer and marketer of premium automotive appearance products. APAC acquires the Missouri-based Masters-Jackson group of construction companies, significantly improving competitive strength in Midwest markets. Arch Coal acquires ARCO's coal properties, increasing reserves and doubling production volumes.

1999: Ashland's headquarters moves to Covington, Ky., as the company observes its 75th anniversary. Ashland forms two new divisions - Ashland Distribution Company and Ashland Specialty Chemical Company - from its largest wholly owned business, Ashland Chemical Company. Later that year, Ashland completed a tender offer for Superfos a/s, a Denmark-based industrial company, retaining only the portion of the business related to U.S. construction operations. Ashland also announced plans to explore strategic alternatives for its investment in Arch Coal.

2000: Ashland's board approves a plan to distribute a majority of Ashland Inc's shares in Arch Coal Inc. to Ashland's shareholders.

Richard Weir
Corinth, Texas