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Monday 1 Feb. 2016  

National invitation: Find your retail service station

The National Archive has today released up to 600 historical photos of Esso retail service stations from Norway and encourages all to locate and name the stations, share memories and stories. Maybe you will find your local station?

See all of the photos of Esso stations in the National Archive here

No matter where you grew up, whatever age, you have probably had a relationship with the local petrol station. These landmarks have had an enormous impact on the development of the modern Norway history, especially for many small communities. The local stations played an important role and served as meeting points. For Norwegians in general fuel means mobility. Esso stations fuel farmers’ tractors, industry machines, and the fishing industry’s fleet. The first petrol stations that were established in Norway was in the 1920ies. They developed a national transportation network that made it possible to travel from the southernmost tip of Norway, Lindesnes to the northernmost part, Vardø – with a vehicle.

What can you find?

In the release online, you will find photos of Esso stations from Svalbard to Kristiansand. Oldest photo of a petrol station dates back to 1929 in Harstad. The newest photo goes back to the 1990ies. By studying the photos you will find development in product selection, fashion, car park, the change from garage to super market, prosperity and increased living standards. Also, the station look has changed throughout the years, and Esso has taken a leading role in design renewal. The photo collection demonstrates this visually from the 1950ies to 1980ies. Most photos are tagged with a municipality or county name, which makes it possible to search for your local station, but not all communities had an Esso station.

Want to contribute?

The National Archive has scarce information about some of the stations, which is why readers are invited to tag photos with district, municipality or county names by simply locating the stations in the correct area. This will improve every search on the photo service. Other information specifics are also interesting. 10 user accounts have been created in the Photo Web. When you log on with Publikum001 and password also 001, Publikum002 and password 002, etc. If your user name is already activated by another user, you will not be able to log on, and you need to try one of the other passwords.

About the Archive

The photos of the Esso service stations originate from Esso Norge AS, an Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary. The company has handed over their entire historical archive to the National Archive. In addition to photos there are board protocols, documents, prints, and videos. The archive documents Esso’s history in Norway from 1890ies to 1999. The selection of 600 Esso station photos is part of a collection with totally 4.000 digitalized photos. More photos will be released in time.

About the Archive’s digital photo archive

The photos of the Esso stations are the first photos published through the National Archive’s new online photo service: The Esso station photos will be the only available photos online for two weeks. The rest of the online archive will be launched 11 March.

For the online display: ExxonMobil Norway 120 years

Esso Norge AS has received National Archive’s consent to publish this joint press release, available in both Norwegian and English.


Would you like to know more? Please contact:

Eivind Skarung in Norwegian oil and gas archive,
Stavanger at +47 488 94 063 or
National Archive
Anette Walmann at +47 480 95 172