Did you know?
OPEC and Persian Gulf countries are not the same.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was organized in 1960 to negotiate with oil companies on matters of oil production, prices, and future concession rights. Of the 14 countries in OPEC in 2016, only 6 of them bordered the Persian Gulf.
|OPEC countries||Persian Gulf countries|
U.S. refineries obtain crude oil produced in the United States and in other countries. Different types of companies supply crude oil to the world market.
Where is U.S. crude oil produced?
Crude oil is produced in 31 U.S. states and in U.S. coastal waters. In 2016, about 65% of U.S. crude oil production came from five states:
- North Dakota—12%
In 2016, about 18% of U.S. crude oil was produced from wells located offshore in the federally administered waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Although total U.S. crude oil production generally declined between 1985 and 2008, annual production increased from 2009 to 2015. More cost-effective drilling technology helped to boost production, especially in Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado. Production declined slightly in 2016 from 2015.
Many countries produce crude oil
About 100 countries produce crude oil. In 2016, 48% of the world's total crude oil production came from five countries:
- Saudi Arabia—13%
- United States—11%
Different types of oil companies supply crude oil
The world oil market is complex. Governments and private companies play various roles in moving crude oil from producers to consumers.
In the United States, companies produce crude oil on private and public land and offshore waters. Most of these companies are independent producers, and they usually operate only in the United States. The other companies, often referred to as major oil companies, may have hundreds or thousands of employees and operate in many countries. Examples of major U.S. oil companies are Chevron and ExxonMobil.
Three types of companies supply crude oil to the global oil market. Each type of company has different operational strategies and production-related goals.
International oil companies (IOCs)
These companies, which include ExxonMobil, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell, are entirely investor owned and are primarily interested in increasing their shareholder value. As a result, IOCs tend to make investment decisions based on economic factors. These companies typically move quickly to develop and produce the oil resources available to them and sell their output in the global market. Although these producers must follow the laws of the countries in which they produce oil, all of their decisions are ultimately made in the interest of the company and its shareholders, not in the interest of a government.
National oil companies (NOCs)
These companies operate as extensions of a government or a government agency, and they include companies such as Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia), Pemex (Mexico), the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA). These companies financially support government programs and sometimes provide strategic support. The NOCs often provide fuels to their domestic consumers at a lower price than the fuels they provide to the international market. They do not always have the incentive, means, or intention to develop their reserves at the same pace as investor-owned international oil companies. Because of the diverse objectives of their supporting governments, the NOCs pursue goals that are not necessarily market oriented. The goals of NOCs often include employing citizens, furthering a government's domestic or foreign policies, generating long-term revenue to pay for government programs, and supplying inexpensive domestic energy. All NOCs that belong to members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fall into this category.
NOCs with strategic and operational autonomy
The NOCs in this category function as corporate entities and do not operate as extensions of their countries' governments. This category includes Petrobras (Brazil) and Statoil (Norway). These companies often balance profit-oriented concerns and the objectives of their countries with the development of their corporate strategies. Although these companies are driven by commercial concerns, they may also take into account their nations' goals when making investment or other strategic decisions.
OPEC members have a large share of world oil supplies
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group that includes some of the world's most oil-rich countries (see list of OPEC member countries under Did you know? at right). Together, these countries control about 73% of the world's total proved crude oil reserves, and in 2016 they produced 44% of total world crude oil. Each OPEC country has at least one NOC, but most also allow international oil companies to operate within their borders.