The Story of Castrol, the Global Oil Giant

Who and What is Castrol?

Castrol has a reputation for manufacturing, distributing and marketing class leading engine oil. Through specialising in the production and exploration of premium lubricating oils and greases within the automotive, aviation, industrial and marine industries; we have grown to become a respected and recognised brand in the oil and lubricant industry. 

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Castrol Grows From Strength to Strength

Since its inception in 1899, Castrol has grown to employ over 7 000 staff members and operate in over 40 countries. Represented by third parties, we are able to ensure that the premium oil is marketed and distributed in almost 100 other markets. Having partnered with over 2 000 agents and distributors, Castrol has an additional network in 140 countries and 800 ports. We are a trusted advisor to our clients by focussing on optimising their production processes through our improved productivity, environmental products and worldwide assurance.

Driving the Lubricant Industry into the Future

In addition to meeting global chemical regulations, Castrol continues to lead the way in the synthetic oil and lubrication industry by pioneering new technology within their 13 global research and development centres. These centres test and develop hundreds of new products annually while working closely with prominent original equipment manufacturers to produce lubricants to match specific environments and operating conditions. Manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Volvo, Audi, Ford, Tata, Seat, Honda, MAN and JLR have all worked with Castrol to co-engineer oil and lubrication products suited to their latest powertrains.

The Castrol Product Range

Castrol’s range of lubricants span across almost all commercial, industrial and domestic applications from agricultural machinery to general industry and engineering use.

Castrol’s line of automotive lubricants have been developed for both consumer and commercial vehicles such as heavy duty trucks, mining, motorbikes and agricultural vehicles. The oil range provides gear oils, greases and many other ancillary products for speciality use and for servicing purposes.

Castrol oils for consumer vehicles address the need for lubrication in:

  •   Diesel and petrol cars
  •   Lubricants for both 2-stroke and 4-stroke motorbike engines
  •   Transmission fluids for automatic and manual vehicles
  •   Chain waxes and lubricants
  •   Brake fluids
  •   Coolants
  •   Greases
  •   Cleaners
  •   Suspension fluids
  •   Maintenance products

Castrol oils for the business to business community address the need for oil in:

  •  Aviation industry
  •  Industrial  
  •  Mining industry
  • Shipping and marine industry 


The History Of Castrol

At the age of 39, Charles Wakefield resigned from his job at Vacuum Oil to start a company of his own. With a clear vision, skills in the art of persuasion and eight of his former colleagues in tow; Wakefield began a new chapter. CC Wakefield & Company opened its doors in 1899 at Cheapside in London to sell lubricants for heavy machinery and trains.

Oil for Automobiles and Aeroplanes

In the early 1900’s Charles Wakefield’s interest in automobiles and aeroplanes drew his attention to the field of sports motors and engines. CC Wakefield & Company began developing lubricants and oils specifically for these engines. The oils for these engines requires the right viscosity to work from a cold start-up while remaining thick enough to perform at higher temperatures. Wakefield’s engineers experimented with castor oil, (derived from castor beans) which solved their problems. The new mixture resulted in an oil which performed at varying temperatures. From the word castor, the new oil was dubbed Castrol.

A Pioneer in the Field of Motor Oil

After pioneering a new field of motor oil with the help of his engineers, Charles Wakefield went even further to brave a new field in marketing – sponsorship. Wakefield propelled the CC Wakefield & Company name into aviation events, auto races and driving competitions by displaying branded flags and banners for onlookers to see. While competitive drivers were competing to break land speed records, Wakefield’s product lines gained exposure and momentum to become more profitable. Spurned by profit the Castrol line grew to include oils developed specially for the individual engines from various car manufactured.

Becoming Castrol

By 1960 CC Wakefield & Company had found itself in the shadow of their motor oil product line, so the company simply changed its name to Castrol Ltd. With a new name, the company opened a state-of-the-art research facility in Bracknell, England to further explore the complexities of engine lubrication. In 1966 Castrol was bought by The Burmah Oil Company. Later on, in the year 2000 BP purchased Burmah-Castrol, making Castrol an integral part of the BP Group.

Expanding the Castrol Product Line

In 1967 the world’s largest ocean-going passenger liner; the Queen Elizabeth II, was launched. Proving that Castrol was not soley focussed on the lubrication of car and aircraft engines, the passenger liner was powered by Castrol lubricants. Ceaselessly innovating, throughout the 1980s and 1990s Castrol continued engineering new products. 

To Mars and Beyond

In 2012 Castrol industrial grease played an integral role in ensuring the smooth operation of NASA’s Curiosity Rover on its mission to mars. Our specially formulated grease lubricates everything from the Curiosity Rover’s wheels to its cameras. With temperatures ranging from 80 Celsius to 204 Celsius the grease had to perform in the most demanding conditions.

Built on the philosophy of Charles Wakefield, Castrol owes its success to the help and encouragement of its customers in the development of new oils. Wakefield had the foresight to recognise the value of a successful partnership in developing cutting edge oil and lubrication. This philosophy continues to inform Castrol’s ethos.

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

Portrait of Sir Charles Wakefield

Wakefield Motor Oil 'Castrol Brand' Registered in 1909

The Luxury Liner Queen Elizabeth II is Launched