Multinational oil company, PetroMech's roots can be traced back to the American oil boom of the 1900's. The three companies that would form PetroMech's core were all founded then. Shaw Petroleum and the Semaphore Oil and Refining Company both were based in Houston Texas. Rexford Oil had its offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shaw and Semaphore merged in 1923, and Rexford was bought out the following year to give the growing corporation access to its East Coast distribution network. Its name was changed to reflect its wider market and over the next five decades American Petroleum grew into one of the five largest crude oil producers in the world, with drilling operations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Following the collapse of the petroleum market in the early 1980's, American Petroleum sold off its distribution arm to focus exclusively on exploration and drilling, continuing operations under the name of PetroMech.
PetroMech is believed to now control upward of 30% of the world's known crude oil reserves. The company recently has drawn heavy fire from environmentalists for a series of accidents. The most prominent of these was the wreck of the PetroMech tanker Edmund Banks in 1994 off the shores of the Orkney Islands, which caused extensive damage to the habitats of local seabirds. Legal action in the Edmund Banks case is still pending in British courts.