People | - Belgium

Léon Wenger - President of Petrofina France

Born in Paris in 1879. With a scientific and legal background, he became interested in Romanian oil through a family business. He is doing his thesis on Oil, production, industry and trade. An officer after his mobilization on the Eastern Front, he learned German and Romanian, and became interested in geology. After the War, he entered liberated Bucharest and took control of the German Economic Bureau. Representative of France in the commission responsible for the evaluation of the indemnities due to Romania after the War, administrator of Petrofina in 1923, of the Bank of the Parisian union, he represents Petrofina on the board of directors of the PSC from from 1925. He negotiates and obtains for Petrofina France two contracts with the Soviets, one on gasoline, the other on oils. Close to Louis Pineau and Ernest Mercier, he actively participated in the drafting of the laws of 1928. He decided to build the Dunkirk refinery, organized the distribution network of Petrofina France and created the Franco-Soviet company Pétronaphte. In 1927-1928, he tried to train Petrofina, then Petrofina France in Venezuela; on behalf of French Petrofina he takes a permit in Cameroon, looking for other sources of oil than those available to Petrofina in Romania. He also pushes Petrofina to get closer to the Americans, first to obtain crude oil deliveries, but also to possibly invest in upstream oil. These orientations took shape at the end of the 1930s. In September 1939 he was sent to Romania to organize oil purchases for France and to prepare the destruction of the wells. Spotted, he ceased all activity during the War, then found administrative functions in various societies. He published his memories in 1959: 55 years of oil: 1904-1959. He died in 1962.

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