Born a new fuel distributor

The October 27, 1933 signed before the notary Francisco Lovato and Ledesma, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the charter of Industrial Distribuidora SA (DISA), with an initial capital of 350,000 pesetas. The new company, formed to "distribution of petroleum products under the characteristics and modalities to be agreed the board ", faces the difficult challenge to gain a foothold among the powerful companies that for years have been carrying out this activity in the Canary Islands.

Since the Canary Islands, as well as the places of Ceuta and Melilla, the area has been left out of the new law of the Oil Monopoly 1927, the distribution on the islands of derivatives - mainly gasoline, diesel and fuel oil, of vital importance to the economy and welfare of Spanish society-is then held by several international oil companies established since the end of World War I, among which are Shell, Standard Oil and Texaco.

To compete with these giants, DISA promoters rely on their experience in the marketing of petroleum products to acquire new oil refinery of Cepsa located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and inaugurated in 1930. DISA bet primarily for commitment to stay in the Canary Islands, and so must prove in the future, ensuring the quality and regularity in supplies and service efficiency, which will be extended in the course of the coming years, all the islands.

DISA diversifies its activity

DISA's initial years were a constant obstacle race with difficulties of every kind. Opening a space in the market of the Canary Islands was an unprecedented challenge in the industrial history of the Canary Islands. The national and international stage was not favourable either. However, to better introduce and establish the first commercial structures, and as an initial formula, those responsible for DISA started their activity on the largest two islands by taking over small businesses already working in the distribution of fuel in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas.

The wars that affected first Spain (the Civil War), and later the world, seriously complicated the panorama.

Faced with this situation, DISA dealt with the supply of light fuels for the automotive industry and also began its first industrial activity, as well as starting the manufacture of lime-based water paints that it sold under the name DISCAL, given that the nature of the climate of the Canary Islands gave rise to large demand for this type of paint.




DISA in the difficult forties

During the forties, DISA acquired a notable presence in the Canary Islands thanks to the increase in the number of manual petrol pumps for cars that were installed at the points where the largest number of vehicles passed. The first of these was located in the town of Tacoronte, its location being decided by the municipal tax system.

In the capital city of Tenerife, for example, petrol pumps were located on the corner of the Alameda, in the Plaza de Weyler and in the Van de Walle garages. In La Laguna, a petrol pump was located in the Plaza de la Iglesia de La Concepción. In the capital city of Gran Canaria, the first petrol pumps were situated in San Telmo Park, León y Castillo street, and at the start of the Santa Catalina quay, whereas in Santa Cruz de La Palma the first of them was found in a garage in Calle Real. In Arrecife de Lanzarote, they were situated in the area of the four corners and in Calle León y Castillo, near the headquarters of the Inter-island Council. In Puerto del Rosario, there was only one pump that covered the demand of the whole island and its surroundings, as was the case in San Sebastián de La Gomera and the town of Valverde on El Hierro. The panorama would soon change, as the number of cars on the islands increased.

For DISA, in this decade there are two things that stand out: the move of the headquarters to Las Palmas in November 1942 and the start, in April 1945, of the building works for the company's first factory on land in the Costa Sur area of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and where the imminent industrial expansion of the company started.


Owing to the critical effects of the Second World War, DISA had to overcome supply problems, assuming the meticulous interventions of the Junta Regional de Restricción de Carburantes (Regional Office for Fuel Rationing) and the added difficulties in the importing of products that was not resolved until mid-1946; although the sale of fuel, except for lubricants, was not liberalised until May 1947.

The decade of the forties ended with the start of various studies to address, in following stages, new industrial projects capable of answering the then needs of the archipelago, such as the manufacture of greases, lubricants, mineral oils, printing inks, candles, soaps, etc.




A quarter of a century for DISA

In the fifties, on the 25th anniversary of its establishment, DISA was becoming one of the most dynamic companies in the Canary Islands, generating, thanks to its increasing industrial activities, new expectations and more jobs, while placing special emphasis on its permanent connection with the social environment of the Islands.

With regards to its industrial development, it continued to take over several small soap factories in Tenerife as a way of starting its own automated plant, which it would later install. It started the manufacture and marketing of detergent products distributed under the brands Distergén, Disgén, Dipás and Poldís. It began to enlarge and modernise the paint plant under the brand Dislín (linseed oil) and it began manufacturing insecticides for domestic use (Trimosquil), later taking on the production of agricultural insecticides for the cultivation of citrus, which were exported to the mainland market.


In terms of the distribution sector, apart from the increase in points of sale, in January 1952 negotiations began with the Shell Oil Company to subsequently create the company Dishell, S.A, building a fuel storage factory on the island of La Palma and, therefore, eliminating the transportation of fuel in barrels that had been the case until then, In May 1956, the layout of the factory in La Isleta, the first in Gran Canaria, was produced and the land was purchased for the future factory in Lanzarote.

There were several important milestones in the opening of new petrol stations. DISA built its first service station in the municipal area of La Laguna, located next to the North road where it passes La Cuesta, as a result of a project by the architect José Enrique Marrero Regalado, which opened in 1954.


LPG: a milestone in the industry of the Canary Islands

On 25th May 1953, DISA began selling liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) in the Canary Islands, produced in the refinery in Tenerife. This set a new milestone in the industry of the Canary Islands, anticipating LPG distribution on the Spanish Mainland by several years. DISA overcame all technical difficulties; it was especially complicated to source enough cylinders to be able to become the first Spanish company to sell gases such as butane and propane. In a very short time, and in a good many homes in the Canary Islands, the production replaced coal, wood, oil stoves and, in the case of the capital city of Tenerife, city gas, and soon it became the most widely-used domestic fuel in the archipelago, with a production of 11,000 tons a year.

In effect, DISA, which started out as a modest distribution company, had become a solidly established company on almost all of the islands, having been able to overcome the difficult earlier decades, and was now firmly rooted in the Canary Island archipelago.


In the capital city of Gran Canaria, particularly of note is the petrol station located in Paseo Tomás Morales, a project by Fermín Suárez Valido in 1956. A work of undoubted plasticity and formal protagonism and yet great simplicity, the building, which was also the headquarters of DISA in Gran Canaria, is outstanding thanks to the lines of its façade, differences in height and curving development, in keeping with its layout in the shape of a grand piano. This balanced and accomplished building is among the most outstanding from its period in Las Palmas and is also identified as the Capitol petrol station, thanks to its proximity to the cinema with the same name.

On 23rd November 1958, DISA inaugurated the first station in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, located at the intersection of Avenida Tres de Mayo and the extension of Avenida de los Reyes Católicos.




Since the end of the previous decade and, above all, the sixties, the then incipient tourism began demanding better quality and more diverse automotive products while the increase in air traffic saw a rise in demand for aviation fuel to supply the airports, forcing the implementation of new systems for transporting this product, an activity in which DISA participated on different islands in the archipelago. At the same time, there was also a rise in demand for diesel, not only for cars, but also in particular because of the demands that came from the rise in new hotels (kitchens and hot water), which determined the sale of this fuel in bulk and, therefore, the installation of small tanks at clients' point of consumption.


To this we must add the fuel oil that the electricity-generating centres of the Unión Eléctrica de Canarias (UNELCO) required on each of the islands, and finally the supply of fuel oil to the drinking water plants of Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. In order to meet these needs, DISA invested greatly in new storage facilities in Gran Canaria: on La Isleta and Salinetas, the former being fully operational in its first phase by mid-1964.

In this decade, there was a significant increase in the distribution network, with the opening of service stations in almost every municipality of the archipelago. This included, in 1964, the new station of Los Llanos de Aridane, a project by the architect Rubéns Henríquez Hernández from La Palma, of a marked sculptural character and possibly the building in which the functionalist rigour of the architect reaches its greatest levels of abstraction. It is formed by a fragmented canopy, composed of eight equally displaced pieces, in response to the dispersed rural context in which it was located.


The storage facility in Santa Cruz de Tenerife was remodelled and expanded, and equipped with new automated machinery for the bottling of butane and propane, new automated machinery for the manufacture of common soap, synthetic and plastic paints - which since then has also been sold under the brands Emuldis and Alcigloss - varnishes, greases, oxidised bitumen etc. In March 1965, work on the new factory in Fuerteventura was completed. Also in September 1966, DISA entered the mainland market for the first time with the construction of an oxidised bitumen plant in the province of Tarragona. In this same year, 1966, a new factory in La Isleta in Gran Canaria entered into service.


With the objective of guaranteeing distribution and supply in the archipelago, the DISA group founded Naviera Petrogás in 1967, a business dealing in the sea transport of fuel and LPG among the different islands and also for the markets of Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla, the Sahara and Equatorial Guinea, beginning its activity with the purchase of two ships: Guanarteme, assigned to coastal shipping among the Canary Islands, and Hespérides, a medium-sized oil tanker for the supply of gas oil and fuel oil on a larger scale. This wide and versatile growth undoubtedly demonstrates the importance of DISA to the economy of the archipelago.




Continuity and new investment

Faithful to its commitment of providing the best service on all the islands of the archipelago, throughout this decade DISA invested greatly in maintaining and improving its service stations, as well as providing storage facilities on all the islands and modernising the existing ones.


Continuity and new investment

In March 1972, a small factory was opened on the fish dock of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and at the end of the same year the works on the new factory in El Hierro for the storage of gas oil, petrol, diesel and LPG were completed. At the same time, work began on the building of a new factory for the storage of liquid petroleum gases in La Palma.

In the factory in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a new carousel filling line was installed. In this same year, work began to increase the capacity of the factory in Salinetas with new tanks for fuel oil and ATK, and in 1975 in this facility, the plant for the reception, storage and supply of asphalt was opened. In October 1974, storage facilities were purchased in the Sahara that, years later and because of the events there, forced the transfer of title of the existing facilities in El Aaiún.

The growing demand for fuel experienced on all the islands made it necessary to purchase new boats for the Naviera Petrogás fleet. Therefore, in December 1972, the oil tankers Mencey and Campofrío entered into service. Two years later, Campofrío was adapted for the transportation of fuel and asphalt and re-baptised with the new name Faycán. This year saw the retirement of the ships Hespérides and Guanarteme, and the company purchased the oil tanker Cartago, used for the transportation of light products, and re-baptised her Hespérides. In addition, it was decided to lengthen the hulls of the ship, as well as that of Mencey, to increase capacity. This decade can therefore be considered of vital importance for infrastructure and for DISA's industrial and commercial development.




In October 1983, to coincide with its 50th anniversary, DISA presented the design of its new corporate image. The Company reaffirmed the attributes that have characterised it since its creation: a vocation to serve and the desire for technological, industrial and commercial improvement. The decade of the eighties began with the opening of the butane and propane plant in the factory on El Hierro.


In November 1984, DISA purchased new land and tanks in the area of the Salinetas quay. Years later, the new Urban Development Plan for Santa Cruz de Tenerife was published, which affected the factory and facilities in the coastal area of the capital city of Tenerife.


In January 1989, land was purchased for the new factory on Fuerteventura and negotiations began for the purchase of 230,000 square metres in the Granadilla Industrial Estate, both destined for new facilities, as well as 21,000 square metres in the Güímar Industrial Estate for the future installation of the industrial plant coming from the coastal area of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

As important as roads are, they need places on them where we can fill up with fuel. Aware of this and faithful to its commitment towards the society of the Canary Islands, DISA contributed greatly through the creation of new service stations on the island road network. At the mercy of a commercial agreement signed in 1980, all of them were branded as CEPSA, although DISA was the owner and, therefore, work of renovation and improving the corporate image began, putting into practice the new concept of service especially through the creation of the DISA shops. Among the most important renovation works, those carried out at the Paseo de Chil service station must be noted, with its cover in the shape of a wing, representing the shape of the supersonic aeroplane Concorde.

In spite of the limitations in land for sites that adequately met official requirements in terms of access, parking areas and buildings next to the road, among others, DISA's service stations have managed to contribute in a very satisfactory way to the needs of the regional vehicle fleet.

By the end of 1980, there were 3,350 service stations nationwide for the 79,274 kilometres that made up the national road network, with an average of one station every 23.7 kilometres, whereas in the Canary Islands the average was one station every 7 kilometres. Beyond the nuancing that any statistic requires, this figure is indicative of how well-equipped the Canary Island archipelago is.



A relevant decade

The nineties recorded as a significant event the transfer of the registered office of DISA to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, completed in June 1990.


In March 1993, a protocol was signed with Mobil Oil for the creation of a new company for the sale of aviation products at the airports of Tenerife Sur, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. This initial agreement would evolve later to include the founding of CMD Aeropuertos Canarios, formed by DISA and Exxon Mobil, together with the company CEPSA and, at a later date, Shell.

At the end of 1994, the work on the new LPG plant in Granadilla had progressed greatly, and it was opened at the beginning of 1995.


In 1997, an important event occurred in the history of the DISA group: the division of DISA into different companies, depending on activity, with the following being created: DISA Pinturas (DISA Paints), DISA Gas, DISA Red de Servicios Petrolíferos (DISA Petrol Station Network) and DISA Logística (DISA Logistics). The parent company and head of the Group is DISA Corporación Petrolífera, S.A.

In 1999, DISA decided to initiate its presence in the mainland market and began its logistical activity by taking over a company dealing in the transport of energy products, which it named DISA Andalucía. Alongside this, it began its distribution activity, creating a network of service stations through its company Dipsa.



XXI century

The decade of the 2000s began with the purchase of a five percent stake in Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos (CLH).


However, the most important landmark in these years was the purchase from Shell of all their distribution and direct sales outlets on the Spanish Mainland, Canary Islands and in Ceuta and Melilla, adding a total of 340 service stations to its network, as well as another 5% share in Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos (CLH). At the same time, DISA and Shell established a brand licensing agreement, allowing DISA to maintain the image of Shell in Spain.

In 2007, DISA formalised the purchase of four service stations from Total España, S.A. as well as its business of direct sales and the company Petroli, S.A.U., with head offices in Barcelona.

In 2007, DISA started to redefine and modernise its brand and, for the second time in the history of the company, changed its image.


Inspired by the environment of the Canary Islands, the new logo was created for the DISA brand, reflecting the solidity, solvency and professionalism that characterise the company. Its new colours, blue, yellow and white, show its character and origins; and the new symbol, the hummingbird, aims to be a faithful reflection of corporate individuality, an icon that transmits a unique and special way of doing things. It is an unusual bird, in permanent search and improvement. The hummingbird bases its diet on the continuous search for sources rich in energy, which are what make its very demanding style of flight possible.

October 2007 saw the presentation of nu-b: the new butane gas cylinder from DISA. Practical, modern, ecological, very light and with an ergonomic design. With this launch, DISA placed a completely innovative product on the market.


For DISA, safety is a priority. It therefore integrates a system of Health, Safety and Environmental management into its business to guarantee the best management of its activities. For several consecutive years, these measures have led to it being awarded the Coashiq prize for the greatest reduction in incidents, recording levels below the sector average thanks to the application of the best practices in the sector with regards to safety standards.

Also in 2007, DISA invested in the environment and research by starting the Proyecto DISA Biocombustible Jatrofa (DISA Jatropha Biofuel Project), developed together with the two universities of the Canary Islands. Within a timescale of 2014, this initiative aims to develop the first Canary Island biofuel from the oil from the jatropha plant grown in the arid soils of Fuerteventura.




DISA has continued its commitment of offering the highest quality and best service to its clients. In 2010, the DISA brand was included in the islands' network of service stations, recovering one of the archipelago's historic images. In this way, the company finalised the image change process in every area of its business in the archipelago which, had begun three years earlier. In addition, the company launched DISAMax, its range of fuels that are more efficient and more engine-friendly, and put into place its loyalty programme Tu Club DISA in the network of service stations in the Canary Islands.


In 2011, the DISA Foundation was created with the firm objective of bringing together the commitment that the DISA Group has shown to society for 80 years and making it a reality.

The DISA Foundation aims to contribute towards sustained improvement in society through specific actions of a social, economic, cultural, sporting, environmental, scientific, educational or research nature, which are the lines of action of DISA's social project.


Competitive car racing in the Canary Islands has become one of DISA's great investments over the last two years, as it is a sport with roots in the islands, as well as being clearly connected to the company's business activity. Therefore, in 2012, DISA began its sponsorship of the Campeonato DISA Autonómico de Montaña and of the driver Enrique Cruz, winner of the competition in his Porsche 911. Also in 2013, DISA not only maintained this sponsorship, but also widened it with the creation of the DISA Copi Sport team.

In this same year, DISA signed a partnership with Shell Aviation to sell aviation fuel in Spain through a new company: Shell & DISA Aviation. The company consolidated its relationship with Shell after the takeover of its service stations in Spain in 2004, which allowed it to grow in a sector in which it had ceased to be present.


In 2013, DISA opened its first point of sale for autogas in the Canary Islands, in a service station. Autogas is a liquid petroleum gas for vehicles that is characterised by being more economical, as it reduces consumption by half, and more environment-friendly. In fact, some urban bus services on the Canary Islands now use this fuel.


For DISA, its employees are the true power behind the company. Proof of this is that in recent years, in spite of the context, DISA has continued to strengthen its investment in employment and in internal talent.

In this sense, its workforce has grown by 42% since 2007, and it has promoted programmes such as DISAImpulsa to include students and/or graduates by means of work experience, as well as grants and DISAIntegra, a programme designed to promote the integration of the disabled or those at risk of exclusion from work.