Castrol History


Castrol is a leading manufacturer, distributor and marketer of premium lubricating oils, greases and related services to automotive, industrial, marine, oil exploration and production customers across the world. Headquartered in the UK, Castrol operates directly in over 40 countries, and employs approximately 7,000 people worldwide. Third party distributors market and sell our products locally in nearly 100 other markets. Our delivery network extends throughout 140 countries, covering 800 ports and partnering with over 2000 distributors and agents. 

Castrol offers lubricants for virtually all domestic, commercial and industrial applications. For automotive lubrication, motorcycles, 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, car petrol and diesel engines. Our products include an extensive range of manual and automatic transmission fluids, chain lubricants and waxes,  coolants, suspension fluids, brake fluids, greases, cleaners and maintenance products. We also produce products for agricultural machinery, plant, general industry and marine engineering uses. 

Our products all have a global chemical registration status and are compliant in all locations where the product is used. 
  • Automotive lubricants: developed for consumers, supplying lubricants, specialties (gear oils, greases and other ancillary products) and services to cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, including heavy duty consumer trucks, mining and agriculture vehicles.
  • Industrial, marine and energy lubricants: developed for the business to business community, supplying solutions to the manufacturing, mining, shipping and exploration industries.
We are at the forefront of pioneering technology and develop and test hundreds of new products every year. We work closely with leading industry OEMs, with whom we supply a broad range of lubricants designed for particular operating conditions and environments. Many of our products are approved and recommended by, or are co-engineered with major OEMs, including Audi, BMW, Ford, MAN, Tata and Volkswagen, for their ‘new to the world’ equipment.


In 1899 Charles ‘Cheers’ Wakefield left his job at Vacuum Oil to start a new business at Cheapside in London under the name of ‘CC Wakefield & Company’, selling lubricants for trains and heavy machinery. He was a persuasive man who could articulate a vision and eight former colleagues joined him in his new venture. Early in the twentieth century, Charles took an interest in two sporty new motorised contraptions – the automobile and the aeroplane. These new engines needed oils that were runny enough to work from cold at start-up and thick enough to keep working at very high temperatures. Wakefield researchers found that adding a measure of castor oil, a vegetable oil made from castor beans, did the trick nicely. They called the new product ‘Castrol’.
Sir Charles Wakefield, founder of Wakefield & Co. and producer of Castrol oil
By 1960, the name of the motor oil had all but eclipsed that of the company’s founder, and so ‘CC Wakefield & Company’ became simply Castrol Ltd. Meanwhile, the company’s researchers delved deeper into the complexities of engine lubrication and opened a state-of-the-art research facility in Bracknell, England. The Burmah Oil Company bought Castrol in 1966.
Wakefield Motor Oil 'Castrol brand' registered in 1909, the first use of Castrol's famous red, white & green colours
Wakefield Motor Oil 'Castrol brand' registered in 1909. This was the first use of Castrol's famous red, white & green colours.

When the Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s largest ocean-going passenger liner, launched in 1967 her engines were lubricated by Castrol. Through the 1980s and 1990s the company continued to introduce innovative, new products. Burmah-Castrol was purchased by BP in 2000 and the Castrol brand became part of BP’s group of companies.
The luxury liner Queen Elizabeth II is launched, her engines lubricated by Castrol
When NASA's Curiosity rover began its mission on Mars in 2012, a Castrol industrial grease played a central role to the smooth operation of everything from Curiosity's wheels to its cameras. The grease is formulated for the space program to perform in temperatures ranging from minus 80 degrees Celsius to 204 degrees Celsius. 

The company’s success owes much to the original philosophy of Charles Wakefield. He drew on the help and encouragement of his customers in developing his new Castrol Oils, because he had the foresight to see that working in partnership was the best way to achieve success for both parties. This rationale is as relevant to Castrol today as it was then.

Castrol, it’s more than just oil, it’s liquid engineering.