The Steaua Romana Refinery has been the most representative organization of the Campina city, for more than one century.
The period 1895-1897: refinery establishment and operation
The first signs of oil reserves date back to the 17th century.
In 1895, after the issuance of the first Romanian law of mines, the Anonymous Society STEAUA ROMANA was founded, having both Romanian and foreign capital.
In 1897, after the Refinery has purchased all the oilfields surrounding Campina city, it became a modern refinery located on an area of 13.5 ha. When operations have started, the refinery was the most modern and the largest refinery in Europe.
Its patrimony consisted of refineries, oilfields, oil wells, export installations in Constanta and Giurgiu, a fleet of tankers for transportation on the Danube, a sulphuric acid factory, a can factory, a water pipeline station on the Doftana river.
The period 1898-1913: development of both the refinery and the Campina city
In 1897, the first year of operations, the refinery distilled about 30.000 tons of crude oil/year. After only two years, in 1899, it distilled about 95.000 tons of crude oil/year and before 1914, about 560.000
tons of crude oil/year.
In 1897, the refinery processing installations consisted in a four-boiler battery, which represented the first section and achieved the continuous distillation at a daily capacity of 200 tons. In 1898, the battery has increased to 8 boilers and in 1908 to 16 boilers, with a total daily capacity of 1,200 tons.
Between 1904 and 1906, the refinery has been extended, by building besides the above mentioned battery, a new discontinuous battery of 9 boilers, which represented the third section, with a daily capacity of 400 tons that in 1918 has been transformed into a continuous battery, distilling 650 tons of paraffin crude oil/day. This latter installation was used to obtain paraffin crude oil until 1927.
The establishment of the refinery, as well as the results obtained in few years, have initiated a real industrial and social revolution in the Campina city and its neighbourhoods. In several years only, many new paved streets were built and running water and electricity were introduced.
Also the number of inhabitants seriously increased. While in 1897, the number of inhabitants of Campina was of about 2,800, in 1912 it increased up to more than 8,500.
The peasants from neighbouring villages learnt new trades, unknown till then in the area such as: distillers, oil workers, installation operators, boiler makers.
In 1904, a school of foremen, distillers and oil workers was opened in Campina – the first of this kind in Europe.
The cultural live knew an unprecedented development.
Between 1910 and 1913, the German company “Deutsche Petroleum A.G.” has invested in STEAUA ROMANA refinery. A social capital increase from 30,000,000 lei to 100,000,000 lei nominal value took place, new shares for a total amount of 70,000,000 lei being issued and fully subscribed by Deutsche Petroleum A.G.
The First World War and the period between the Two World Wars
Romania entered the war on the side of the Antanta members. The entire petroleum sector was under the control of the war administration.
In November 1916, most of the refinery installations were destroyed by Allies, not to fall into the enemy’s hands. Later, the oil wells and the refinery have been urgently recovered by Germans. In 1917, Kaiser Wilhelm the second and the Marshal Machesen visited Campina, well known for its oil and refinery.
The inter-war period is considered the glory period of STEAUA ROMANA refinery, during which installations were modernized, new equipment was bought, and a record quantity of 1.4 million tons/year of crude oil was processed.
The Second World War and the subsequent period
Romania entered the war on 22 June 1941.
Steaua Romana refinery continued the production activity, becoming an important war objective. Germans, who were interested in assuring the fuel necessary to the huge war machinery, granted a special attention to STEAUA ROMANA refinery.
During the Second World War, STEAUA ROMANA refinery worked at full capacity and supplied diesel oil, gas, oils and other derivates to the war front.
On 1 August 1943, the British and American squadrons bombed STEAUA ROMANA refinery, destroying the installations, the oil wells and leaving behind a real disaster.
In 1944 (on 5-6 May, on 10 and 18 August), the refinery suffered other four air raids, which made it non-functional.
After the War, the refinery needs 4 years to recover.
At nationalization, in 1948, the communist regime took over the refinery in functional state, at a recovered capacity of about 500,000 tons/year.
Almost half a century, STEAUA ROMANA refinery, as well as the entire Romanian economy, witnessed a period governed by the socialist principles of activity division. Consequently, the refinery became strictly specialised in the production of paraffin oils and paraffin, most of the other products being supplied to other refineries through pipeline systems.