Biggest US Oil Companies



ExxonMobil is an American based company that is directly descended from John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999 to create ExxonMobil which is centered in Irving, Texas. Ranked at either No. 1 or No. 2 for the past five years, it is one of the largest publicly traded companies by market capitalization. When evaluated for market revenue, it is 2nd in the world making it a true giant in the energy industry overall. With 37 oil refineries and over 83,000 employees, ExxonMobil is the largest refiner currently in operation. It sells its products under the brands of Exxon, Mobil, and Esso which have long been known for quality and customer service. Of the six oil supermajors, ExxonMobil is indisputably the largest and produces over 3.9 barrels of oil equivalent every single day.

Anandarko Petroleum

Anandarko Petroleum is an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company that is among the world’s largest. It began its life cycle in 1959 as a subsidiary of Panhandle Eastern Corporation in response to the large amounts of natural gas that were being discovered in the Anandarko Basin. Anandarko Petroleum eventually split from its parent company in 1986 and currently operates in over a dozen different countries although its U.S. onshore operations account for 60% of its reserves. Its reserves of oil equivalent are approximately 2.3 billion barrels with 206 billion barrels of oil equivalent being produced every year as of 2008. With its headquarters located in The Woodlands, Texas, Anandarko employs over 4,700 people in both its domestic and international operations. With regards to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP billed Anandarko $272 million for its share of the cleanup as they were partners in the operation. However, this bill could be considered voided if the spill was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct on the behalf of BP.


Apache is an independent oil and gas company that is currently headquartered in Houston, Texas and operates both domestically and internationally. It was originally created in 1954 by three men in Minnesota and drilled its first wells in Oklahoma’s Cushing field. Its headquarters was moved from Minneapolis to Denver in 1987 and finally from Denver to Houston in 1992. Even though it is based in the United States, there are regional offices and operations in Canada, Australia, Argentina, the North Sea, and Egypt. With over 4,400 employees and $12 billion in revenues for 2010, Apache is traded through the New York Stock Exchange as a public company and is a key player on the S&P 500. This makes it a direct competitor with companies like Anadarko but not larger companies like Chevron.


Chevron is an American company that is involved in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries. It operates in more than 180 countries and has its headquarters in San Ramon, California. As one of the world’s six supermajor oil companies, it has been ranked among Fortune 500’s five largest corporations for the past five years. Chevron is currently ranked 4th after Apple, ExxonMobile, and Walmart. In 2011, Forbes Global 2000 ranked it as the 16th largest public company in the world. It employes over 62,000 people and sells its products under a variety of brand names. It sells its fuels under the brands Chevron, Standard Oil, Texaco, and Caltex. Chevron also handles the upstream business of Unocal, whose pumps are owned by ConocoPhillips. In addition to its fuels, it also operates Star Mart, Extra Mile, Redwood Market, and Town Pantry convenience stores. Chevron also markets Techron as an important additive in their fuel.


ConocoPhillips is another multinational oil company that is based in the United States. In 2002, Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Company merged to form ConocoPhillips. It is a Fortune 500 company that is traded as a component of the S&P 500 and is ranked 22nd on Forbes Global 2000. With its headquarters based in Houston, Texas, ConocoPhillips is the fifth largest private energy company in the world. In North America, it sells oil under the brands of Conoco, Phillips 66, and Union 76, while selling under the name of Jet in Europe. It operates in almost 40 different countries all around the world, employing 29,000 people in total. With 19 refineries currently under its ownership, ConocoPhillips is the world’s fourth largest non-government controlled refiner overall.

Devon Energy

Devon Energy, founded in 1971, is one of the largest independent United States based producers of oil and natural gas with its headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The company mainly focuses on their North American onshore exploration and production operations. Devon owns and operates both natural gas pipelines and treatment facilities in most of its areas of production. This makes it one of North America’s largest processors of natural gas and also one of Fortune 500’s largest corporations in America. It is also included as a part of the S&P 500 Index. With more than 5,000 employees worldwide, Devon is also ranked as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and Most Admired Companies. It gains these titles partially by way of its extensive community outreach programs through which it contributes resources to everything from law enforcement agencies and fire departments to youth programs and schools.

Greka Energy

Greka Energy is also currently known as HVI Cat Canyon. It is a United States based private oil and natural gas company that operates mainly in California’s Santa Barbara county. It was created in 1999 after the acquisition of several mergers bought by its parent company, Greka Integrated. Its oldest component, Saba Enterprises, was established in 1981. With approximately 200 employees, its petroleum extraction and asphalt processing operations made Greka the largest onshore oil operator in Santa Barbara County. In China, Greka owns and operates Green Dragon Gas which is a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange. Although owned by the same people, these two companies are completely separate legal entities. Until 2003, the company was traded on the NASDAQ but then its owner, Randeep Grewal, bought out all of the existing shares at a 69% premium and made it into a private energy company.

Hess Corporation

Hess is a New York City based integrated oil company that began its life in 1919 as Ameranda Corporation. British oil entrepreneur Lord Cowdray formed it to begin exploring for oil in North America. Following several major acquisitions, it eventually changed its name to Hess Corp. in 2006. By handling the exploration, production, transportation, and refining stages of oil and natural gas, Hess avoids additional cost by completing the logistical chain necessary for production. It also sells gas through its Hess branded filling stations in 16 different states along the United States’ East Coast. Through one of its subsidiaries’ partnerships with a Venezuelan company, Hess also owns part of one of the largest crude oil refineries in the world in the United States Virgin Islands. With around 11,600 employees, Hess might appear tiny when compared to some of its competitors despite its rank of 55 in the 2009 Fortune 500.

Koch Industries

Koch Industries is an American based conglomerate that is based in Wichita, Kansas. Koch companies are involved in the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, and minerals among many other things. They are even involved in finance, commodities trading, and real estate. In the United States, Koch Industries employs 50,000 people and another 20,000 in 59 other countries. In 2011, Forbes ranked Koch Industries as the second largest privately held company in the United States. When compared to publicly held companies in 2007, Koch Industries would have ranked 16th in the Fortune 500. Koch Industries is jointly owned by Charles and David Koch, the sons of one of the company’s founders Fred Koch. Subsidiaries of Koch Industries include Georgia-Pacific, a paper and pulp company, Invista, a polymer and fibers company, Koch Pipeline Company LP, an oil and gas pipeline company, Flint Hill Resources LP, a refining and chemicals company, Koch Fertilizer, LLC, a maker of nitrogen fertilizers, and Koch Agricultural Company’s Matador Cattle Company, a cattle ranching company.

Marathon Oil

Marathon Oil is an international oil and natural gas exploration and production company that is based out of Houston, Texas. Despite many exploration and production centers in other countries, it has recently focused its interests in the United States on shale plays that are liquid-rich, such as the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations. Back in 1887, Marathon Oil was started as The Ohio Oil Company before it was bought up by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil two years later. It remained a part of Rockefeller’s oil trust until 1911 when the trust was broken. Later, in 1930 it acquired the Marathon brand name and eventually renamed the company to Marathon Oil in 1962. With over 29,500 employees and more than $77 billion in revenue in 2008, it is hardly the largest oil and natural gas company in the industry but is certainly bigger than many of its direct competitors.

Murphy Oil

Murphy Oil has been around as an international oil and natural gas company since it was created in 1944. From its El Dorado, Arkansas headquarters and through its many subsidiaries, it operates in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and Republic of the Congo. Murphy Oil employs over 8,600 people, has two oil refineries and two ethanol production facilities in the United States, and an additional oil refinery in the United Kingdom. In addition to its refineries, it also operates a growing filling station chain at Walmart Super-centers and at certain other stations in the United States. Murphy Oil had over $23 billion in revenue in 2010, making it smaller than many of the larger companies in the industry but still larger than many of its direct competitors. To give back to the community, the El Dorado Promise was introduced in 2007. It set aside $50 million so that every student graduating from El Dorado’s school system could afford to go to college.

Occidental Petroleum

Occidental Petroleum is an oil and natural gas exploration and production company that operates out of their Westwood, California headquarters. It’s primary operations are in the United States, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America. With over 30,000 employees worldwide and a 2010 revenue of over $19 billion, Occidental is the largest producer of oil in Texas, the largest natural gas producer in California, and third largest producer of oil in California. With regards to its market capitalization, it is the United States’ fourth largest oil and natural gas company with operations in eight different states. To maintain its status as one of the fastest growing companies in the industry, Occidental places an emphasis on enhanced oil recovery, exploration, and acquisitions. In 2009, it made what is believed to be the largest oil and natural gas discovery in California in the last 35 years.

Plains Exploration and Production

Plains Exploration and Production, created in 2002, is a spin-off from Plains Resources. It is an American petroleum company that is based out of their Houston, Texas headquarters. It operates in California, Wyoming, Louisiana, Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, and offshore of California. After its release from Plains Resources in 2002, it acquired 3TEC in 2003 for $313 million and Nuevo Energy in 2004 for $945 million. This supplied Plains Exploration and Production with various oil producing assets in the southwest to compliment the exploratory assets it retained after its spin off. At the end of 2008, its reported reserves were 292 million barrels of oil equivalent with a potential total of up to 2.2 billion barrels. As of 2007, Plains Exploration and Production was the fourth largest producer of oil in California, ranked behind Chevron, Area Energy, and Occidental Petroleum.

SandRidge Energy

SandRidge Energy is an oil and natural gas exploration company that has its headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was originally founded in 1984 as Riata Energy but eventually changed its name in 2006. The company focuses mainly on the Mid-Continent and Permian Basin but still maintains its production in West Texas, the Gulf Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico. Its drilling rigs are both owned and operated under the name Lariat Services. In late 2007, SandRidge’s initial public offering was of over 28 million shares of common stock at $26 per share. In 2011, a royalty trust called the SandRidge Permian Trust was created to hold oil and natural gas wells that have not yet been developed in Andrews County, Texas. With over 2,200 employees and a 2010 revenue of over $1.4 billion, it is hardly a small company but often gets overlooked due to the immense size of some of its competitors.

XTO Energy

XTO Energy is a private American energy company and a member of the Fortune 500 that deals primarily with oil and natural gas exploration and production. It was started in 1985 as Cross Timbers Oil Company and eventually changed its name in 2001. In 2009, it became the single largest natural gas producer following its 2008 acquisition of Hunt Petroleum for $4.2 billion. Later that same year, ExxonMobil acquired XTO as one of its subsidiaries for $31 billion in stock. As ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, the company was named XTO Energy Incorporated. It’s official assignment as a part of its new parent company is to “focus on global development and production of unconventional resources.” As of 2008, before its acquisition by ExxonMobil, XTO made over $7.6 billion in revenues and was employing over 2,300 people. Its revenues earned and number of employees have most likely increased since it was taken over by such a large and profitable company.


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