EGEE 120
Oil: International Evolution

The Lecture for The Quest Chapter 4: "Supermajors"


The Quest Chapter 4: "Supermajors"

Were He Alive Today

A review of Rockefeller and Standard Oil from a modern perspective. The importance of the anti-trust suit has set the standard for what a monopoly means and what is acceptable in modern business in the United States.

The change in the makeup of the companies is a switch from large international oil companies (examples Standard Oil, Shell) to a majority of oil companies being national (examples: Saudi Aramco, Gazprom (Russia), National Iranian Oil Co., Petróleos de Venezuela). This means that their respective government operates or governs the focus of the company. The government also benefits from the profits or must cover the company’s loss. Some of these countries have created hybrid companies, which are independent from the country’s government, but have government officials on the board. Most government run oil industries will dip into the profits of the national oil company to pay for non-oil related improvements. There will be more details on how and why some of these companies became government controlled.

Yet, we know that there are mergers of some of the broken pieces of Rockefeller’s original Standard Oil. However, none have sought to overturn the boundaries set by the original 1911 decision. This decision is a large umbrella that has cast a shadow on many industries beyond Oil - including technology, phone, cable companies, just to name a few.

Yergin, Daniel. (2012). The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. New York: Penguin Books