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Company History

Discovery of Petroleum

In 1852 and 1853, the two Polish pharmacists Ignacy Łukasiewicz and Jan Zeh conducted experiments on a liquid made from viscous seep oil. Their experiments showed that the liquid, which would later be called kerosene, generated a strong light when ignited.

On July 31, 1853, the petroleum lamps developed by Ignacy Łukasiewicz were put to use for the first time at a hospital in Lviv. This event is widely regarded as the birth of the petroleum industry in Poland and the world as a whole.

Polish Roots of the Petroleum Industry

Ignacy Łukasiewicz continued to improve his invention and made pioneering advancements in industrial usage of mineral oil. Together with his business partners, he built the world’s first mineral oil mine in 1854 in Bóbrka. In 1856 he established the first petroleum refinery, in Ulaszowice. Thanks to the work begun by Ignacy Łukasiewicz, the new industry continued to develop at a dynamic pace until the beginning of World War II.

Origin of the Three Orange Letters

The name CPN came about thanks to the Polish Minister of Industry, who created the state-run company Centrala Produktów Naftowych (Center for Petroleum Products) in 1945 as part of a specially commissioned project. Ten years later, the company was renamed Centralny Zarząd Obrotu Produktami Naftowymi or “CPN” (Central Ministry for Trading with Petroleum Products). After three years, the company was then named Centrala Produktów Naftowych CPN. Following the company’s IPO in 1995, the company received the addition S.A.

The 1960s saw the creation of the white-and-orange CPN logo and the entire visual identity of CPN. Shortly before it was deleted from the trade registry, the company operated 1,400 gas stations and nearly 600 tank vehicles for transporting fuel.

The CPN logo was used until 1999, when the company was deleted from the trade registry. Even today, for many, the name CPN is still synonymous with gas station.

The History of the Blue Logo

Due to the growing demand for fuel and raw materials, in the 1950s an additional refinery had to be built. In 1959, the decision to build the Mazowieckie Refinery and Petrochemical Works was taken. The company logo for the new refinery used the colors blue and white and featured a stylized image of an alembic and the letter “P”.

In 1993, the Mazowieckie Refinery and Petrochemical Works were transformed into a listed company named Petrochemia Płock S.A. In order to reflect this change in the company logo, the existing symbol was supplemented with the name and a line below the text. The new logo was first used for the white gas stations and tanker vehicles in 1993. A few years later, the gas station colors were changed to blue and white.

Eagle and Energy

In 1998, the Council of Ministers decided to found a national petroleum company via a fusion between CPN S.A. and Petrochemia Płock S.A., thus creating Polski Koncern Naftowy S.A. in 1999.

In the same year, the company decided on the name ORLEN – a name that would call to mind the desired associations in addition to being easy to present visually and allowing for registration as a brand. ORLEN is a combination of the words ORZEŁ (eagle) and ENERGIA (energy). The logo features a stylized image of an eagle’s head. Today, the logo also shows the company name in a rectangular bar.

A Strong Brand

In the year 2000, an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Shareholders approved a decision for Polski Koncern Naftowy S.A. to take on the company name ORLEN. The ORLEN trademark was presented to the public on the occasion of the company’s second share placement on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The ORLEN logo can be found on motor oils and operating fluids, lubes, and a range of other chemicals for motor vehicles. However, the company’s flagship operations are its gas stations. ORLEN is also highly active with its commitment to society. The company’s high brand awareness with children gave rise to the company mascot, ORLENEK.

Since its establishment in 2000, the ORLEN brand has enjoyed high approval marks in Poland and has come to be synonymous with successful enterprise growth.

Expansion to Germany

In 2003, ORLEN Deutschland GmbH was founded and 494 gas stations purchased from British Petroleum for a total of 140 million euros. The majority of ORLEN gas stations in Germany have since then been operated under the star brand. star gas stations enjoy great popularity in Germany thanks to their fair pricing policies and friendly service.

The star Story

In September 2003, the first star gas stations in Germany were opened. At around 350 sites, primarily in northern Germany, the brand first made a name for itself through its low prices – both for fuel and for other products, such as the star motor oils. Since then, the product range has been expanded continually, in line with our brand’s slogan: fast, easy and well priced. We make good on this promise every day with lots of smaller and larger innovations.

By the year 2010, the number of star gas stations in Germany had grown to over 500. star was the first in the market to launch contactless payment. Customers and operators benefit from this new system in particular when it comes to smaller amounts – the transaction is carried out by the terminal in mere seconds. The inconvenient and time-consuming search for the right change was thus done away with and the payment process shortened.

Innovation Driver of Gas Station Market

star gas stations have been pleasing customers with own brands in the food area as well since 2012. The first product was an energy drink available at all star gas stations. Since then, the range of own-brand products with an attractive price-performance factor has been continually expanded, such as the star motor oil and products for car care and maintenance. Not to mention, customers can find star mineral water and the star hot dog, made according to our own recipe, at our gas stations.

Trailblazer in Cashless Payment

For contactless, fast, and secure payment, all star gas stations in Germany have been equipped with Visa payWave technology since 2013. star gas stations are important trailblazers – not just in the petroleum market.

Even the year 2014 was a year of innovation for star. In cooperation with InterCard AG, all star gas stations in Germany introduced a new combined payment process using both ec debit and PIN-based electronic cash procedures. The system makes payment at the gas station even simpler for customers and provides even greater security.

star Gas Stations Get You Moving

As a new cooperation partner of STARCAR car rental, star gas stations are supporting a new form of car sharing. The “Share a Starcar” program offers drivers in Hamburg a resource-saving mobility option. Since October 2014, these vehicles have been available at 19 selected star gas stations in Hamburg. Find out more at

Thanks to the company’s great drive to innovate and of course to the personal dedication of all staff members, star now stands for so much more than just affordable fueling.