With ever increasing prices of fuel, the petroleum industry holds a tenacious hold on our daily lives. It is necessary for the sustenance for many other industries. A murky and incorrigible future of this industry has its clutches on the world economy, which further worsens the current scenario. Such is the influence of this industry, that every other tycoon and multi-billion organization are constantly lobbying to get hold of this precious resource. Its effects go as far as Hollywood, bringing two movies based on petrol politics – ‘Syriana’ in 2005 and ‘There will be blood’ in 2007 based on Southern California’s oil bloom. Talk about oil and petroleum, Shell and ExxonMobil are the names that pop in our head first. While these names are prominent but might not be the biggest, more than 70% of the reserves are owned by state owned companies. It is worthwhile to know the megacorps, the strongest directors of the course of our economy.
Ranked as the 3rd largest company in Fortune 500, this US based company has its operations in over 180 countries. It has its activity well known in alternative energy as well. Chevron claims itself as the largest producer of Geothermal energy globally. Albeit it is first of the supercorps venturing in production of algae biofuels, it has been constantly attracting controversies mainly dealing with destruction of environment. Over the years, Chevron’s status has been jeopardized by its environmental record. The environmental damage done in Rio de Janerio and Ecuador, have attracted lawsuits of which the prosecutors demand in billions. Chevron’s energy profile has seen a significant rise in the natural gas sector. It has got significant holdings in all the six continents. It produces 3.5 million barrels every day.
9. Royal Dutch Shell
Headquartered at The Hague, it has its companies in over 100 countries. It is commonly known as Shell and has its logo derived after the same. It was the largest company on the London Stock exchange in 2012 and is active in every area of Oil and Gas industry. Shell has often been involved in non -oil operations, including nuclear power which was short lived and electricity generation, none of those were so successful and were eventually rescinded. Interestingly it has setup a worldwide platform for whistleblowers for reporting violation of its general business principles. It will be starting its operations in Alaska’s Chuckchi sea. Its daily production stands at 3.9 million barrels, and has $ 345 billion in assets.
8. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation
Kuwait’s national oil company, headquartered at Kuwait city, is a conglomerate under its government control. It was established in 1960 as a shareholder company, and was fully owned by the state in 1975.Although its operations in UK have been nullified since 2004 after being bought by another organization, it still has been able to maintain its stature. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation accounts for 10% world reserves and 87 % of export reserves of Kuwait. KUFPEC (Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company), a subsidiary of KPC is well known for its humanitarian projects in Pakistan, Tunisia and Indonesia. KOC (Kuwait Oil Company), also a subsidiary company of KPC is the world’s fourth largest oil exporter.
7. Petroleos de Venezuela
The state owned oil and natural gas company is the fifth largest exporter. It has a vantage point of the few largest oil reserves in the world, and is run by supporters of the president. It is one of the top exporters to the US. Found in 1975, it is based at Caracas, Venezuela. Its major customers are Caribbean, UK, USA, Belgium and Sweden. Also known as PVDSA (Petroleos de Venezuela S.A), it acts as a financial buffer for the Venezuelan economy. Its total reserves amount to more than 120,000 million barrels.
The fifth largest company in the world by its revenues, British Petroleum is more than a century old. It has its major operations in UK, US and Ireland. It has seen a series of affiliations since its inception before finally becoming British Petroleum. Its daily production adds to 4.4 million barrels per day. Although it has been marching with a series of acquisitions, BP may not be able to maintain its current level of production. Currently it is in its process to sell its 50% stake to Rosneft a state controlled company of Russia, through the joint venture of TNK-BP.
Officially known as PetroChina Company Limited, it is the largest producer of oil and gas in China. China National Petroleum Corporation is the sole shareholder of PetroChina. Its operations include all aspects of Petroleum and Petrochemical industry. This most profitable company in Asia spends its large chunk of profits on R&D, mainly focusing on energy conservation through green development and technological innovation. It is also known for its sustainable practices with Green and low carbon development strategy. With its good environment record and increasing assets it ranked 6th in the Forbes list of public companies. It currently produces more oil than ExxonMobil. It is predicted to vie as a leading gas producer owing to the large shale reserves under China. It produces 4.4 million barrels per day.
The US based multinational company became the largest company in the world as per revenues. Its daily production amount to 5.3 million barrels per day. ExxonMobil was formed from merging Exxon and Mobil, two branches of Standard Oil in US. It is known as the largest refiner in the world. It’s environment record has attracted much criticism due to the its spills and leaks in various waters. Interestingly it dedicates less than 1% of its profits for alternative energy, the only hope for energy crisis. Surprisingly, ExxonMobil’s chairman Lee Raymond was skeptic about global warming, and tried notoriously to thwart any federal interference at all levels. It is not so famous on LGBT front, owing to its meddling with LGBT rights. The Daily Telegraph quoted ExxonMobil as – “planet’s most hated corporations” . It has $ 341 billion in assets.
3. National Iranian Oil Co.
NIOC a state owned oil and gas company is run under the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran. It ranks as the 3rd largest oil company in the world. Its reserves account for 15% of gas and 10% in oil. Its daily production account for 6.5 million barrels per day. Due to sanctions imposed by US and European governments, NIOC had to curtail its oil production. To elude the problems due to depreciation in its production, Turkey and India have been paying NIOC in gold. The strait of Hormuz, which falls under the national boundaries of Iran, is a strategic location as 20% of petroleum passes through it. Iran threatened to cut off the strait in case of any attack thus collapsing the international trade.
One of the largest companies in the world, Gazprom is also the largest producer of natural gas. it produces 9.7 million barrels per day. It has been known to support variety of community projects. It has had significant investments in protection of water, land and atmosphere. Gazprom trades as a public company, most of its assets are held by the government of Russia. Ministry of Gas Industry of Soviet Union converted itself into a corporation, thus forming Gazprom, which was later partly privatized. Being the largest exporter of natural gas, it puts the President Vladimir Putin at a vantage point in Europe. It has $ 328 billion in assets.
1. Saudi Aramco
Quoted as the most valuable company in the world by Financial Times, Saudi Aramco is a Saudi Arabian company. Headquartered at Dhahran, its operates across the globe including in chemicals and refining. Officially it is known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Company. Ghawar field, the largest oil field in the world is owned by Saudi Aramco. It has recently taken a keen interest in R&D and was granted its 100th patent in 2010. It has also ventured into a variety of community services from Healthcare to Education. The biggest energy company in the world generates more than a billion dollars in revenues. It produces a whopping 12.5 million barrels per day.
Although the Hubbert Peak Theory suggests the unending dependence on petroleum reserves may lead to cataclysmic failure, real life scenario seems to starkly diverge from theory. The influence of these organizations seems constantly uphill. Although notable activities have been seen in alternative energy, the extent to which these Petroleum organizations control our lives and serve us seems to be waxing.