Big Oil

Politics and Money
Top Oil Companies Info
The Relationship between Big Oil and American Politics and Public Policy

Assigned Readings

“Oil and Gas Industry: A Research Guide.” Library of Congress.

Browse: Foreign Lobby Watch “Oil and Gas Money to Congress”


What is….Definition
Barrel A unit of volume equal to 42 U.S. gallons.
Big Oil  A name used to describe the world’s six or seven largest publicly traded and investor-owned oil and gas companies, also known as supermajors. The term, particularly in the United States, emphasizes their economic power and influence on politics.
Crude oil A mixture of hydrocarbons that exists in liquid phase in natural underground reservoirs and remains liquid at atmospheric pressure after passing through surface separating facilities.
Crude Production The volume of crude oil produced from oil reservoirs during given periods of time. The amount of such production for a given period is measured as volumes delivered from lease storage tanks (i.e., the point of custody transfer) to pipelines, trucks, or other media for transport to refineries or terminals with adjustments for (1) net differences between opening and closing lease inventories, and (2) basic sediment and water (BS&W).
Fracking The process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. “attempts to limit oil and gas fracking”
Oil A viscous liquid derived from petroleum, especially for use as a fuel or lubricant.
Oil refinery A facility that takes crude oil and distills it into various useful petroleum products such as gasoline, kerosene, or jet fuel.
Petroleum Administration for Defense (PAD) Districts Geographic aggregations of the 50 States and the District of Columbia into five districts by the Petroleum Administration for Defense in 1950. These districts were originally defined during World War II for purposes of administering oil allocation.
Refining This is classified as a downstream operation of the oil and gas industry, although many integrated oil companies will operate both extraction and refining services.
Seven Sisters in Oil This comprises Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now BP); Gulf Oil, Standard Oil of California (SoCal) and Texaco (now Chevron); Royal Dutch Shell; Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) and Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony), (now ExxonMobil).
Student Energy
(Link to the website)
This site gives information on the following topics:
What is Oil
International or Prominent Organizations
Research Institutions

Note: Logue Library does not have a subscription to the journals listed on this site. So you cannot download them.
The Big Oil Super MajorsThe Big Oil Super-majors are the six to eight companies which oil analysts utilize to talk about the world’s biggest publically owned gas and oil corporations. They are often just called the super-majors, oil majors, or big oil.

Big Oil – Statistics & Facts

Fossil fuels are the cornerstone of our industrialized modern world. Some 70 percent of the global final energy consumption still comes from resources such as crude oil, natural gas, and coal. Fossil fuels originate from dead plant and animal matter decomposed anaerobically over millions of years under heat and pressure. Due to the time needed for each fuel type to be formed they are deemed non-renewable.

Fossil fuel burning is a main contributor to global warming and thus climate change. As a result, many governments and institutions have introduced measures to reduce their use. Nevertheless, oil production remains at an all-time high, nearing the 100 million barrels per day mark.
How Many Oil Refineries Are There in the United States?
As of Jan. 1, 2021, there were 129 operable petroleum refineries in the United States. The last refinery to enter operation was in 2019 in Texas.
How Much Crude Oil Does It Take to Make a Gallon of Gasoline?
One barrel of oil (42 gallons) produces 19 to 20 gallons of gasoline and 11 to 12 gallons of diesel fuel.
What Is the Crack Spread?
In commodities trading, the “crack spread” is the differences in price between a barrel of unrefined crude oil and the refined products (such as gasoline) that are derived from it. Traders look to changes in the crack spread as a market signal for price movements in oil and refined products.

U.S Energy Information & Administration

Petroleum & Other Liquids
Analysis & Projections