Oil (and gas) companies are among the largest corporations worldwide. Among the top ten companies worldwide based on revenue, six are in the oil industry. In 2016, Anglo-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell reported almost 234 billion U.S. dollars of revenue. Thus, Shell was the third-largest company worldwide based on revenue in 2015. ExxonMobil from Irving, Texas generated a revenue reporting some 219 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. However, ExxonMobil claims the highest market value within this industry, as well as having the second-highest market value of all companies worldwide in 2015.
Oil demand and oil consumption have been rising steadily over the last decades. The United States is by far the top consumer worldwide, responsible for approximately one fifth of the total global oil consumption. Correspondingly, the U.S. is the world’s leading oil importer. Nevertheless, U.S. oil consumption has been in constant decline since 2005, while China as the second-leading consumer reported a rapid increase in recent years. Until June 2014, oil prices remained relatively high, in line with rising global demand (and other crucial factors). A look at some of the most important oil benchmarks – UK Brent, WTI and OPEC basket – shows that while oil prices from 2011 to 2014 were quadruple the 2001 prices, in 2015 and thus far in 2016, prices have significantly decreased. In March 2017, OPEC crude oil prices sat at an average of 50.32 U.S. dollars per barrel, down from an average annual price of 52.03 U.S. dollars per barrel in 2017.
The long-term outlook for the oil industry, however, may be more promising. For example, most of the global top oil producing nations will have distinct higher production maxima in 2020 than in 2011. It is projected that global oil demand will increase until at least 2035. Daily global oil consumption is expected to grow from 89 million barrels in 2012 up to 109 million barrels in 2035. Transportation and industry will continue to be the sectors with the highest demand for oil.