Your favorite Exxon station is very likely not owned or operated by Exxon and the same is true for the rest of the major oil companies. The Chevron’s and BP’s of the world largely distanced themselves from the branded retail gasoline business following the mega-mergers of the late 1990′s and early 2000′s due to financial and regulatory factors.
In fact, these businesses – that most people still refer to as gas stations – are now thought of by the industry as convenience stores that sell motor fuels. The downstream segment – refining and marketing – of the oil and gas business has been marginally profitable for decades. But the vertically integrated model first championed by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil remains attractive to the majors because owning refineries provides a guaranteed market for their often highly-profitable upstream businesses of finding and developing oil and gas. The upstream was often thought of as subsidizing the downstream, as Steve Coll described it in his book about ExxonMobil, “Private Empire.” Keep reading →
Depending on who you ask, the impending closure of a major Philadelphia refinery will either increase U.S. vulnerability to a terrorist attack on its energy supply, or simply shift demand to other suppliers of petroleum products.
Senior officials from federal energy and homeland security departments debated the loss of U.S. refining capacity with industry representatives and politicians at a field hearing of a Congressional committee outside Philadelphia on Monday. Keep reading →
ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson
ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest energy companies by operational size and market capitalization, is reaching into its wallet in a big way. Exxon sees significant global energy demand growth – even with the considerable efficiency gains that many expect – and is solidifying its position as a major global supplier of the both the raw commodities and finished products that will fuel global consumption. Keep reading →
The planned closure of Sunoco’s Philadelphia refinery, which accounts for a quarter of the US East Coast’s capacity, looks set to constrain supplies of diesel, heating oil, and perhaps gasoline, while pushing prices higher.
The projected shutdown, due to take effect in July if no buyer is found, was highlighted by the Energy Information Administration in a February 27 report saying petroleum product markets in the Northeast could be “significantly impacted” if the closure goes ahead. Keep reading →