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Octan Origin Theory?

So, general question: Why did LEGO switch from having the Shell brand in their sets to using the fictitious Octan?

From what I know:

* Esso was the brand-of-choice starting in 1955.  And the last Esso set I can find appears to have come out in 1962, meaning that it was probably still being made up until the 1963-1965 ballpark.

* Shell replaces Esso in 1966, with a variety of sets.  The last non-promotional Shell set comes out in 1989.

* Exxon sets come out in the USA (but not elsewhere) in 1979, and the last one is released in 1984 (still in the catalog in 1985, but seemingly replaced with Shell again in 1986).

* Octan sets come out in 1992.

* The set design process supposedly took about 2-3 years back in that timeframe (or so I believe we've been told)

And now, the last link in the theory:

* The Exxon Valdez had its famous oil spill in March of 1989, and caused huge environmental concerns.

I'm wondering if the Valdez was a factor in the creation of Octan?  The timing seems pretty coincidental-- especially since LEGO had just had a partnership with Exxon (and maybe still had one at the time of the spill?)  Was LEGO worried about its association with an oil giant?

Certainly there are other possible reasons, since bringing "Octan" in-house would allow LEGO control over the brand.  And maybe there were other factors, like (say) if Shell's partnership was becoming more demanding or less profitable monetarily.

Is that too crazy of a theory?  Has anyone at LEGO shed any light on the decision?  Discuss.



  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    They dropped Shell because of pressure from environmentalists. They had Octan alongside Shell for many years.
  • davee123davee123 Member Posts: 852
    Pitfall69 said:
    They had Octan alongside Shell for many years.
    The only references to Shell from 1992 onwards look like it's in promo sets, or purely as a logo in Ferrari sets.  Am I missing some Shell sets that were in the main LEGO town themes in 1992 and later?

    I do see some sets that are tagged as Shell sets (although not many) such as:

    But these don't feature the Shell logo (why are they tagged as being Shell?  Is it because they have an oil-drum that's in Shell's colors?)

    Pitfall69 said:
    They dropped Shell because of pressure from environmentalists.

    Wasn't that the more recent dropping of Shell in like, 2016 or so?  I think that one LEGO also stated was partially an internal decision, despite the timing of the stuff from Greenpeace, etc.

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,765
    Not sure if @Istokg will have any info on this, but paging him just in case

  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,217
    I think Octan is a subsidiary of Dinoco.
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