Historical Documents and Videos

Click this connection to the Link Page for Historical You Tube Videos or interesting Documents regarding Union/Unocal media, finances or operations

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Welcome to your Unocal Legacy website!  

What was happening 30 years ago?

Well, oil prices were relatively high in 1982, as this graph shows:
Union Oil had over 20,000 employees for the first time in its history.
The Seventy-Six magazine for the first 2 months of 1982 featured these stories:
The whole magazine (with others) is available at http://unocallegacy.squarespace.com/76-magazine-archives/



Link to the NEW 76 Magazine Archives - click here

Article on restoration of the Union Oil DC-3-click here

Union Oil DC-3 video-click here

4th installment of personal Interview with R.J. Stegemeier - click here!

Interview with President Richard J. Stegemeier from SeventySix Magazine 1986 - click here!

Union Oil 125th Anniversary History - click here


Unocal Legacy, Inc. was formed to create this web site celebrating the Legacy of Union76/Unocal.


SEE the old "Murph" commercials  - links on our "Links" page - click here!

See our article on the 1984 struggle between CEO Fred Hartley and T. Boone Pickens for the future of Unocal.

As we go forward we hope others who were part of or interested in the Unocal Era will visit and contribute to preserving the history, accomplishments and effort that made Unocal a historic California and international petroleum producing and refining corporation.

You can read or post comments by clicking the comment logo just below.



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References (6)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (18)

Hi Mike,

What a great idea! I worked extensively with Union/Unocal in many locations - Ventura in Cat Canyon, Santa Paula production/eng office, offshore on many of the platforms and even in Indonesia when I spelled an ex-pat in my company. Consequently I have fond memories of many of the people I worked with at Unocal.

January 1, 2011 | Registered CommenterLarryG


I joined Union Oil in 1974, when many of the employees were very loyal to the company - and the company was pretty loyal to them, too. The world has changed a lot since then, but there are still a lot of people who have good feelings about their experience with Union Oil and/or Unocal.


January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike Utt

From Neill Freeman:

The Boone Pickens case was MY case.

We were able to prove that Pickens went over the threshold in a series of trades rather than in a single block. $48 million (if I recall correctly) recovery for Unocal as disgorgement of insider trading profits. Interestingly, he acquired the “block” in a series of “as-of” trades through Jeffries & Co. who used Stevens & Co in Little Rock to allegedly assemble the block. We were in the Rose Law firm Offices at the same time Hilary couldn’t find the Whitewater Billing files. Because of sequencing codes on the actual trade slips we proved that the trades actually spanned over a full trading week, NOT the single Block trade Mesa contended. (For Mesa, their single block could have been assembled, and they usually are, from multiple sources – but it is a Block only if it happens concurrently and this clearly didn’t happen.)(Side light – we picked up a number of cases for Jeffries after that)

The lawyer that took credit for it was Darryl Snider, now at Heller Ehrman, but the real lawyer was Pat Coughlin (then of Milberg Weiss) who had brought the original Shareholder derivative suit and carried the laboring oar on the securities purchases side where we broke the case.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike Utt


Great web site. As we are telling war stories about T. Boone Pickens ...

I usually played Union 76 stock with Put and Call Options in the 80's. The stock would move in the $30-$40 dollar range, so it was buy the Call option in the low $30s and buy the Put near $40. Needless to say I bought a bunch of $40 Puts, 6 months out, a few days before Pickens hostile takeover of Union 76. Within a month my $1/share Puts were worth 10 cents/share and becoming worthless..
Those of you that were around at this time vividly remember the stock holders meeting attended by Pickens that was televised to a number of offices. Needless to say, if Boone was successful then Brea Reseach was history. I had planned to buy 500 $40 put options for 15 cents/share, but figured I'd need the money if I was redeployed.
Needless to say, Pickens failed in his takeover bid, and I ended up getting $6/share for my Put options when the stock dropped back into the low $30s before the Put expiration date.
I had mixed emotions after this event, since had I bought those 500 $40 Put options, I would have made close to $300,000 and missed the next 14 years of my career with UNOCAL.

Best Regards,

Hello Mike,
Thanks for initiating this. There are many former Unocal alumni that are still connected with unique and intersting stories
You may recall our mutual effort in the investigation of an incident in Balikpapan in the 90's.
I retired subsequent to the Chevon buyout after 25 years with Unocal where I started on the Parachute Shale program in 1980 and spent the last 15 years of my career with the Corporate HES department.
I have fond memories of my career with a great company.
Best regards,

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Volpe

My Tribute to Milan Skripek:

Among my many memories of the many people I knew from Unocal, one person always brings a smile to my face and that person was Milan Skripek. I remember Milan Skripek very well. When I first joined Unocal, I was hoping to find some people who might be interested in playing tennis. I found out about the Unocal tennis ladder (of which I would later become the coordinator) and called up several people including Milan to set up a match. Milan was very selective in whom he would play and told me that he wouldn't play me until I had beaten Mike Hunter first. Mike was pretty high up on the ladder and Milan was using him to screen his potential opponents.

When I finally beat Mike Hunter and satisfied all the requirements he imposed for me to be able to challenge him, he still couldn't find time to play me because of the other matches he had already set up. One Saturday morning at 8 AM, I was awoken from a deep sleep by a telephone call from Milan. He was at the Fullerton Tennis Center and his 8 AM match had just canceled out on him and he wanted to know if I could make it down to the courts right away to play since he had already paid for the 1-hour court time. I rushed down to the Fullerton Tennis Center to promptly get beaten 6-1 6-0, well before the 9 AM time limit.

I didn't fare much better the second time I played him because he made me run around with his accurate placement shots and deadly overheads. Eventually, I closed the gap on him and I think I might have even beaten him once or twice - but for an old bow-legged guy, he sure was a darn good tennis player. He hated to waste time warming up - he only had a limited amount of time and energy so why waste it warming up? I'm the same way now so that's one thing I learned from Milan.

One time Steve Lipman (former president of the Unocal Science and Technology Division - formerly known as the Unocal Research Center) asked him how he did in a tennis tournament he had entered because Steve had heard Milan had gotten to the final round. Milan started out by complaining about how sick he was and how young (in their prime) the other entrants were. He then went into detail about his opponent's hard serves and powerful strokes. But then Steve knowingly interjected, "So what score did you finally win by?" To which Milan answered, "6-2 6-1... but it was a lot harder than the final score indicated."

What a guy. I would have loved to have the chance to play him again one last time. His game was perfectly suited for older tennis players. All guile and no pace. As I am now the "old" tennis player, he is the standard to which I aspire.

I hope to hear more stories about the Unocal days from others.

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHoai Dovan

Thanks for setting this up. I was hired by Milan Skripek at 76 Research in 1981 as a Technician. I spent 9 years there working in the Process Development group in U and V buildings (3yrs), then the Product Evaluation group in the Engine/Knock lab (3 yrs), followed by the Product Development group (Lubes 3 yrs). I was very fortunate to work with some of the most intellegent and thoughtful people in my working career. I am now on my 30th year in the industry but I will never forget the fun times that we had at S&T. How do I go about sending some photos that might be of interest?

February 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarry Duffin

Mike -- Brilliant idea! Thanks for your efforts in setting up this site -- looking at it brought to mind some great years with Unocal in Brea and Sugar Land. I visited Orange County last year, and it was tough to keep a dry eye when I saw the flat land at Imperial and Valencia. Anyway, I plan to forward the URL for the Unocal Legacy site far and wide. All the best, Joe Curiale

March 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Curiale

Hey Mike!

Great idea. There are hundreds of ex-Unocal folks in the Houston area. I look back with pride at my 23 years with Unocal. What a shame Unocal is no longer around. It was the best - by far - of all the major oil companies around.

I will never forget Mike Utt & I standing on the deck of the West Seno TLP offshore Indonesia when we ran the first completion riser. It was touch & go for a while, but turned out great.

Glen Anthony

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlen Anthony

I have a completely self-serving post comment on the Pickens takeover attempt. I ran the Exploration Department Library at the time, and it was located on the 7th floor of the Union Oil/Unocal headquarters building in downtown Los Angeles. The meetings with Mr. Pickens and his people frequently took place in the conference room right across the hall from the library. I usually stayed at work after hours to clear up paperwork, and on days when the Pickens group had been there, I always checked out the conference room for leftover goodies, usually in the form of extra cans of soda. Cheap of me, I know - and probably somewhat unethical, as the unopened cans could have been used for other meetings, but I was not terribly well-compensated. I did enjoy my work, though, and looked upon the meeting leftovers as a job perk! People I remember from my years with the company are Bill Sax and Doyle Paul, Exploration Division leadership, Kim Park (the gracious and very capable division secretary/admin. asst.), Frank Tomaszewski (head of the Drafting group), Bill Sulkoske and many geologists and geophysicists, Harold Zahner from the Legal Dept. (who originally hired me into the Litigation Support group), and my best buddies from Litigation Support - Cherie Bartlett and Cindy Govea.

April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArdis Weiss

Thanks for the great retrospective on the 125th anniversary of the company! I didn't remember the 1989 Seacrest disaster (probably because I was on maternity leave at the time.) Thanks for allowing us to remember our shared past.

February 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Minner

Hi Mike,
Thanks for a great job. It brings back many good memories which makes me feel that maybe I am not 39 yrs old anymore after all. Like Hoai, I also have many good memories of our good late friend , smiling Milan. I never saw him play tennis, but saw him play a spectacular ping pong game with Bernie Peralta many moons ago, for which he should have charged a fee for watching. Did you know that he was one of our great translators when we had some Russians at the Research Center to license our MCCF Enhanced Recovery Process? You should, because when the Russians were at the Research Center, playful Mike had ‘thoughtfully” pasted the acronym of the process high above the entrance to my office where I couldn't reach it, with some “misinforming” good taste explicit such as saying the “M” stood for Moscow, etc. Ha ha. Milan didn't know how to translate that. Thanks again. Sam Sarem

October 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSam Sarem

I didn't see any mention of the Avila Beach oil pipeline leak that allowed 400,00 gallons of petroleum products to leak for years under the town and the resistance of UNOCAL to clean it up. They finally did, to the tune of 200 million dollars

March 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteve


You are right - I didn't mention Avila in that summary of Unocal history. A bigger pollution problem, less visible to the public, was the underground plume at the Guadalupe oil field. That problem had many consequences, including a California judge threatening prison time for Unocal executives. You can get quite a bit of information by Googling "Unocal Guadalupe."

Mike Utt

March 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike Utt

Hey Mike great article. I am a collector of anything unocal. The first pic u have of the minute man Sign is awesome. I've never seen that particular sign before is there anything you could tell me about it . thanks again for the great history lesson

April 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Rogers BTW

Anyone know of a centennial lithograph by artist bob wynne which shows a collage of pictures of union oil buildings and founders and ceo s over 1890 to 1990. I saw the framed copy of one today someone bought at a yard sale only 1200 were produced. I spent many hours trying to find info on the artist without success.ease let me know if you have any info.bodenj @yahoo.com thanks.

October 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBodenmiller

Just found out about this site. Good idea!!!
I spent my time with UNOCAL in Schaumburg, Il (Eastern Region, old Pure Oil building), Brea, Yorba Linda, Costa Mesa, Phoenix/Tempe with TOSCO, and finally in Bartlesville with the Conoco/Phillips folks. It was a fast 31 years, mostly in computer programming, computer security, and auditing. Have lost touch with many of former co-workers. Could not stay retired, so am running a mobility store (scooters, wheelchairs, etc.) in Payson, AZ, just to keep busy.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Hokanson

Unocal 76 Attendant Reinforces White Privileges.

Stopping to get some gas I was discriminated against by a station attendant. At about 8:00 am Saturday morning I entered the 76 station at 10504 Canyon Rd. E. Puyallup, WA. I said, "good morning" to the attendant as she walked in front of me to the coffee machines. Feeling that she was servicing the machine I patiently waited for her to return to the cash register. At this point a middle-aged Caucasian male entered the store also wanting some fuel. The attendant rushed back to the cash register, and look right through me to receive $20.00 from that patron, who just entered the store. She then asks him what pump he needed. Feeling belittled I ask the cashier why would she do that to me. She became dismissive "saying that she will enter my pump requirements now. I became outraged by her attempts to down play her racial bias. At this point another attendant came out of the back calming the situation. This type of subtle racial discriminatory behavior has really destroyed my long-term patronage of what I thought was a moral professional business. Food For Thought: When you see our Communities Campaigning in "Black Lives Matter Movement" Consider how I was treated in This incident i.e. In the face of the 76 gas station attendant I didn't Matter. " In Comparison" Her Behavior is similar to giving the keys to a company vehicle to an employee that's drunk. Instead of causing bodily injury,or death to another motorist. The attendant injures your self esteem, your self worth, and is capable of killing any dreams of equality in the community in which Unocal allows her to work.

March 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDon Holtz Keal

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