Some interesting oil industry statistics - companies

1997-2009 Gibson Consulting

Perspective US Gov't
Index US imports - from where? US imports - volume US exports Largest exporters Largest importers Iraq By company
Costs Largest refiners US Capacity Capacity by state Product imports Market share Transportation
Leading countries US Production Leading US States Largest world oil fields Largest US oil fields Largest world gas fields US Production Peak Production Peak Number of wells US - Wells drilled/producing US - shut-in wells
How many gallons? How much gasoline? How much plastic? Production costs Finding costs US Gov't profits Uses of oil
US - oil US - gasoline World Changes By sector US vs China
World US US - Bakken US - shut-in wells Peak Oil Drill Baby Drill Largest world oil fields Largest US oil fields Largest world gas fields
Largest that don't use imported oil Profits Seven Sisters
Who sets the price? Price history Factors Why so high? Gasoline price breakdown Historic change in pricing basis
How much in a barrel? Retailer Profits No. of stations US Price breakdown Sales per station No Middle East oil Price in other countries
Producers Importers Companies Oil Fields Gas Fields Reserves Profits
Exports to Japan ANWR
Drill Baby Drill Salvation in Canada? US - Bakken Essay
Made of dinosaurs? Why so much in the Mid East? Who owns it? Abiotic oil
Miscellaneous Myths Alternatives
Finding costs Hot areas Bakken Time to bring onstream
How many gallons in a barrel? How much gasoline from a barrel? Where to buy gas not from Mid East? Who sets the price of oil? Why does Alaska export oil to Japan?

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Compiling a list of "largest oil companies" is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. The state-owned national oil companies operate differently from the traditional businesses we are accustomed to in the US. Also, should they be ranked by assets, by reserves, by production, or by revenue? These categories give similar, but by no means identical, lists. And are we talking about oil, or gas, or both, or oil equivalent? The following table offers one ranking, based mostly on information from the Oil & Gas Journal in 1999. For merged companies such as ExxonMobil, I added the values for the predecessor companies. State-owned companies are marked with a star*. Public companies like ExxonMobil only hold about 18% of the world's oil reserves; the rest is owned by nations or state-controlled companies. Source.     Largest oil & gas producers in the U.S.

Million barrels per year, 1998
Saudi Arabian Oil Co.*
Petroleos Mexicanos*
Petroleos de Venezuela*
China National Petroleum*
BP Amoco + Arco
Royal Dutch/Shell
Nigerian National Oil Co.*
Iraq National Oil Co.*
Kuwait Petroleum*
Chevron + Texaco

The largest non-state-owned companies are ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and Chevron-Texaco. Those four companies spent more than $50 billion in capital and exploratory costs in 1998. BHP (Australia) would be next ($23 billion in assets), followed by the US companies on the list below. But there are many additional state-owned (or partly state-owned) companies that are larger than Conoco, including YPF (Argentina), Petrobras (Brazil), Elf Aquitaine (France), Total (France), ENI/AGIP (Italy), Norsk Hydro (Norway), Statoil (Norway), Repsol (Spain), Sonatrach (Algeria), Chinese Petroleum (Taiwan), and Nippon Oil (Japan), as well as those on the list above.

There are more than 200 US Oil companies with more than $1,000,000 in assets. What's an oil company? Do you count just oil producers, or include exclusively refining companies? What about natural gas companies? It is difficult to keep track of all the mergers, but below left is one list by assets, as best as I could determine it from their on-line Annual Reports or other sources. Thus this info is probably 2004 data. For up-to-date information, the Oil & Gas Journal publishes all sorts of data about the top 200 oil companies. For another way of looking at it, below right is a list of the top 11 companies as ranked by estimated 2002 worldwide Exploration & Production spending, according to the Solomon Smith Barney survey. The 11 companies on this list planned to spend more than $63 billion that year.

$195 billion
... add Unocal
$132 billion
$15 billion
$53 billion?? (US only)
($191 billion worldwide)
$48 billion (US only)
($193 billion worldwide)
... add Burlington (pending 12/05)
$104 billion
$36 billion
Valero (a refining company)
$33 billion
El Paso (a gas company)
(includes the former Coastal)
$31 billion
$23 billion
$21 billion
Anadarko/Union Pacific
$20 billion
Amerada Hess
$16 billion
Est. E&P Spending, 2002
US $$
Royal Dutch/Shell

Source of the following data (PDF from EIA)
Largest US oil producers, 2004
thousand barrels per day
Chevron Texaco493
Aera Energy216
These top 10 companies represent 56% of total US oil production.
Largest US natural gas producers, 2004
million cubic feet per day
Devon Energy2244
Burlington Resources
acquired by ConocoPhillips, 2005-06
Chesapeake Operating1368
These top 10 companies represent 39% of total US natural gas production.

Seven Sisters & Standard Oil

Click here for a graphical representation of the
Standard Oil heritage of several multi-national oil companies,
following the 1911 break-up of the Standard Oil Trust.
The original Seven Sisters were Exxon (or Esso, Humble, Standard of NJ), Shell, BP (British Petroleum, originally Burmah Oil + Anglo-Iranian), Gulf, Texaco, Mobil (Standard of NY, or Socony-Vacuum), and Chevron (Standard of California). Since Gulf Oil no longer exists (acquired by Chevron in 1984) except as Gulf Canada and a marketing company in the northeast US, Amoco (Standard of Indiana) was often added to the list of six; but in 1998, Amoco was acquired by BP to form BP Amoco, while Exxon was acquiring Mobil; and Chevron and Texaco merged in 2001-2002.

As noted above, Exxon and Mobil have merged, and BP Amoco acquired ARCO. If I have counted correctly, three companies, BP Amoco, ExxonMobil, and ChevronTexaco, combine within them no fewer than 14 of the 35 Standard Oil Trust companies that were divested from Standard in 1911. For much more, and more authoritative, information about Standard Oil and its history, visit "Whatever Happened to Standard Oil."

Q: I am trying to locate the states that the members of the original seven sisters have stations and refineries. ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil list the states they operate in. I hope you can help me. You get named as my first source for information on the companies.

A: Well, I know that there are Gulf Oil stations in the Northeast - Pennsylvania to New England, I think - but Gulf Oil no longer exists, Chevron, which bought Gulf in 1984, sells the right to use the Gulf brand to a convenience store chain, I believe. Neither Conoco nor Phillips was one of the original Seven Sisters. Texaco traditionally marketed in all 48 states - but I don't know what is going on with that now that they are merged with Chevron. BP bought the Gulf stations in the southeast states, and I'm sure they still market there, but I don't know where else... Shell also once had stations in most states, but I'm sure they have reduced that a lot by now.

Compiled by Dick Gibson, Gibson Consulting, 301 N. Crystal St., Butte, MT 59701

Want to know more?
Gibson Consulting recommends: Read The Prize, by Daniel Yergin.

1997-2009 Gibson Consulting
Background image of drilling well in Utah in 1981 2000 by Dick Gibson