Published: 25-12-2012, 23:03


Petroleum: Oil Demand

Petroleum: Prices

Petroleum: Production

Petroleum: Reserves and Resources

Petroleum: Oil Companies

Petroleum: Investment

Theworld petroleumsector includes the exploration, extraction, and transportation of crude oil, and the refining of crude oil into finished products. Participants in the world petroleum sector include fully integrated oil companies, national oil companies, independent oil and gas producers, refiners andmarketers, pipeline operators, and others. The fully integrated companies explore for and produce oil and gas around the world, own pipelines and tankers to transport oil and gas, process the crude oil into refined products, and sell finished products through a global network of wholesale and retail outlets. Typical fully integrated companies are often international oil companies (IOC) such as Exxon Mobil Corporation, BP,Chevron Texaco, ConocoPhillips, andRoyalDutch/Shell. In contrast toIOCs, national oil companies are owned by national governments and are typically found in major oil-producing nations. Independent oil and gas producers only explore and/or produce crude oil and natural gas. Independent refiners purchase crude oil and process it into finished products. These companies may also own wholesale and retail marketing outlets or sell their products tomarketing companies. Independent marketers purchase refined products, usually gasoline, and sell them at retail outlets. Pipeline companies transport crude oil, refined products, natural gas and natural gas liquids using networks of pipes and pumping or compressor stations.

Oil and natural gas provide nearly 60 percent of the world’s primary energy and will remain indispensible in meeting the projected growth in energy demand during the early decades of the 21st century. The rapidly growing world economy will require large increases in oil, which will come from a variety of sources, including existing production capacities, development of existing reserves, new discoveries, and development of nonconventional liquids. Yet there is uncertainty about the industry’s ability to overcome the multiple increasing risks of meeting the growing demand for oil. Such risks include gaining access to promising resources, making investment in infrastructure, and determining how much oil is recoverable.

See also Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); petrodollars, recycling of


  • Baker Institute for Public Policy. 2007. ‘‘The Changing Role ofNational OilCompanies in InternationalEnergy Markets.’’ March. Houston, TX: Baker Institute. Pro vides a review of the strategies, objectives, and perfor mance of national oil companies.
  •  BP Statistical Review of World Energy. 2007. http:// internet/globalbp/globalbp uk english/reports and publications/statistical energy review 2007/STAGING/local assets/downloads/ pdf/statistical review of world energy full report 2007.pdf. June. Authoritative source of data related to demand and production of oil and natural gas by region and country. 
  • Energy Information Administration. 2007. International Energy Outlook 2007. Washington, DC: EIA. Provides an assessment of the outlook for international energy markets through 2030. 
  • International Energy Agency. 2006. World Energy Outlook 2006. Paris: OECD/IEA. Provides an assessment of the outlook for international energy markets and additional insights into the most critical energy issues. 
  • National Petroleum Council. 2007. Hard Truths Facing the Hard Truths about Energy. Washington, DC: NPC. Evaluates the ability of global oil and natural gas supply to keep pace with growing world demand. 
  • Simmons, Matthew R. 2005. Twilight in the Desert The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. New York: Wiley. Analyzes Saudi Arabia’s oil explora tion and production industry and whether it will be able to continue in a swing producer role in the coming de cades. 
  • Yergin, Daniel. 1991. The Prize The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power.NewYork: Simon andSchuster.Tells the history of oil and how it has shaped the politics and the global economy. 


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