Mobil (Rhodesia)

Mobil (Rhodesia)


Originally founded in 1866 as the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, Mobil is a major American oil company which merged with Exxon in 1999 to form a parent company called ExxonMobil. It was previously one of the Seven Sisters which dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s until the 1970s.

During the UDI period, allegations were aimed at the Mobil Oil Company that they fashioned an elaborate and secret chain of bogus companies to disguise the flow of gasoline and other oil products from South Africa to Rhodesia. The story charged that Mobil, by developing a string of dummy companies, post office addresses, and phony order sheets and invoices was able to set up a circuitous “paper chase” thereby disguising the fact that Mobil was selling Rhodesia as much as $ 20 million a year in oil products, including specialized aviation fuel for Rhodesia’s air force.

Mobil (Rhodesia) was asked in the mid-sixties by a secret Rhodesian government agency called Genta to set up a ‘paper-chase’ of intermediary companies, through which Genta could import all of Rhodesia’s gasoline and diesel requirements from Mobil (South Africa). Mobile South Africa would sell its oil to Freight Services which would then sell the consignment to Genta. Genta would sell the oil to Mobil Rhodesia. Payment would go along the same channel.

Mobil dispatched a team of senior executives overseas to check the report soon after it was released but did not dispute the claims.


  • James Gavin