Petroleum companies, also known as Oil companies or Oil & Gas companies, have formed a key part of the global economy for the last decade, since petroleum or crude oil has become our main fuel source.
Not only have these petroleum companies become amongst the biggest companies in the world, but thanks to the fundamental importance of this limited resource, they have also become embroiled in a complex political world of government and national objectives, international relations - and all too often, outright war.
Oil companies, among the largest employers in the world, cater to the global energy demand. Their areas of functioning can be grouped into the following:
- Production: This involves the extraction of crude oil from reserves, followed by its refinement in processing plants.
- Distribution: The daily distribution quota is delivered to various sectors (e.g. automobiles, agriculture, residential). This is followed by the commercialization of oil products.
Moreover, administrating their employees who have to work in extreme temperatures in extended shifts is an important part of the operations of an oil company.
Major Oil Companies of the World
The leading oil companies of the world are:
- The Exxon Mobil Corporation: This American oil and gas corporation is the progeny of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company, formed by the merger of Exxon and Mobil on November 30, 1999. The world's biggest publicly traded company has its headquarters in Irving, Texas. Its reserves at the end of 2007 were around 72 billion barrels of oil-equivalents (BBOE), which are expected to last for the next 14 years.
- Royal Dutch Shell plc: It was formed in 1907 when Royal Dutch Petroleum Company merged with Shell Transport and Trading Company Ltd, UK. The initial establishment included 60 % Dutch and 40% British shares.
- BP plc: Having its headquarters in London, this company was discovered by William Knox D'Arcy in May 1908 in the Middle East. It was called the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) before it became the British Petroleum in 1954. In 1998, it became BP Amoco after merging with Amoco of Indiana. In 2000, it was renamed BP and adopted the tagline "Beyond Petroleum."
- Chevron/Texaco Corporation: It was formed after the split of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company in 1911 and named SoCal. It was one of the Seven Sisters that dominated the world oil industry in the early 20th century.
- Conoco Phillips Corporation: Based in Houston, Texas, it was formed by the merger of Conoco Inc and Phillips Petroleum Company on August 30, 2002. Its fuel stations are named Phillips 66, Conoco and 76. It is the second-largest refiner in the US and the fifth-largest in the world, with a processing capacity of 2,208,000 and 2,901,000 bbl/day.
The Seven Sisters (the major oil companies of the west that divided world oil among themselves after WW-II) now control a minor proportion of world reserves. State monopolies and emerging partially-privatized oil companies hold the major share.
We have listed here the main world, international or global petroleum companies , by country. The country normally indicates the headquarters location of that company, although some have multiple headquarters (for example Royal Dutch Shell is headquartered in both the UK and the Netherlands).
List of Oil Companies
Listed below are the various petroleum companies of the world: