Many Americans love bashing and vilifying “Big Oil,” and the President wants to take Big Oil’s tax breaks away (even while lavishing subsidies on not-ready-for-primetime renewables), presumably in order to reduce their allegedly “obscene” profits. But the largest American oil company, Exxon Mobil, is a small fry when compared to the government-owned energy monsters with which it competes for supplies in the global energy arena.
It ranks 17th — 17th — in the world in terms of oil output, according to one list I Googled. It’s dwarfed by its government-owned competitors, which currently control 77 percent of the world’s known energy reserves. Exxon Mobile and its private counterparts play by American-style, Marquess of Queensberry rules, while government-owned competitors, like PetroChina, ruthlessly scramble to lock-away every drop of oil they can, with few reservations about how they do it.
Waging regulatory and rhetorical war on American “Big Oil” may viscerally satisfy demagogues and profit-bashers on the Left, but weakening American and Western companies also will leave Americans even more at the mercy of the foreign governments (few of whom are friendly) that really put the “big” in Big Oil. But few Americans who rely on the greenstream media for their energy education would understand this.
The careless reader of this CBS News story, for instance, might conclude from the headline that this means Exxon is now “no 2″ in overall oil production, but this just refers to what the reporter calls “publicly-traded” oil companies, even though the biggest oil producers in the world are government-owned, not publicly-traded. And Exxon barely makes the top 20 on that scale, as I explained above. The headline also misleads because PetroChina, though technically publicly-traded, is 86 percent owned by the Chinese government, making this an apples-to-oranges comparison. But if you just looked at the headline, or read a few graphs into the story, and if you don’t have a grasp of the bigger picture, you might jump to the conclusion that Exxon Mobil is still one of the top dogs in the global oil biz, when it is really just a puppy.