Elf Aquitaine's came from three French oil companies: Régie Autonome des Pétroles (RAP), Société Nationale des Pétroles d'Aquitaine (SNPA), and Bureau de Recherches de Pétroles (BRP). The three companies were formed after the discovery of a gas field in Saint-Marcet in the Aquitaine region of south-western France. In December 1965 RAP and BRP merged to form Entreprise de Recherches et d'Activités Pétrolières (ERAP).
On April 28, 1967 the company's different brand names and products were combined under the Elf brand. Elf stood for Essence Lubricants France. In 1976 Elf-ERAP merged with Antar Pétroles de l'Atlantique and became Société Nationale Elf Aquitaine (SNEA). Later it became known as Elf Aquitaine. Elf Aquitaine was listed on the NYSE in 1991. In 2000 Elf Aquitaine merged with Total Fina to form TotalFinaElf. In 2003, the name was changed to Total.
Fraud scandal [change]
The Elf scandal came to light in 1994 in France. According to The Guardian, it was 'the biggest fraud inquiry in Europe since the Second World War... Elf became a private bank for executives who spent £200 million on political favors, mistresses, jewellery, fine art, villas and apartments'. Iraqi-born Nadhmi Auchi, received a 15-month suspended sentence and a £1.5m fine for his involvement taking illegal commissions.
From its beginnings, Elf used motor racing as a means of promotion. It had four-year deal with Matra starting in the French Formula 3 series. In 1969 the combination won the Formula One World Championship with Tyrrell and Jackie Stewart. By this time, Elf was owned by the French government. They began a new long-term relationship with Renault, which was also owned by the French government at the time. The Renault F1 racing cars carried Elf sponsorship until 2009. The Elf logos were replaced with Total logos.
- Cohen, Nick. "The Politics of Sleaze". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20071112050032/http://observer.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,,1086486,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- Connett, David (2008-05-04). "Unwelcome publicity for oil giant in legal battle with billionaire". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/unwelcome-publicity-for-oil-giant-in-legal-battle-with-billionaire-820750.html. Retrieved 2010-05-01.