Multinational corporation comprising two founding companies, Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. of The Hague, Neth., and Shell Transport and Trading Co., PLC, of London, Eng. The two companies began as rivals. In London in 1878, Marcus Samuel took over his father's import-export business (which included Oriental shells) and started selling kerosene; he later entered the oil business in East Asia, and in 1897 he founded Shell Transport and Trading Co., Ltd. Meanwhile, in 1890 a group of Dutch businessmen founded the Royal Dutch Co. for the Exploitation of Oil Wells in the Dutch Indies, which built its first refinery in Sumatra in 1892. In 1907 the two companies merged into the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, which acquired producing concerns in Egypt, Iraq, Romania, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, California, and Oklahoma. The group, commonly referred to as Shell, has used the scallop shell as its logo since the early 1900s. With interests in liquefied natural gas and petrochemicals as well as aviation, shipping, and automotive fuels, Royal Dutch Shell ranks among the largest oil companies in the world.