The Exxon Mobil Corporation, or ExxonMobil, is an American oil and gas corporation. It is a direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil company, formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil.
ExxonMobil is the world's largest publicly traded company when measured by either revenue or market capitalization. Exxon Mobil's reserves were 72 billion oil-equivalent barrels at the end of 2007 and, at current rates of production, are expected to last over 14 years. The company has 38 oil refineries in 21 countries constituting a combined daily refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels.
While it is the largest of the six oil supermajors with daily production of 3.921 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) in 2008, this is only approximately 3% of world production and ExxonMobil's daily production is surpassed by several of the largest state-owned petroleum companies. When ranked by oil and gas reserves it is 14th in the world with less than 1% of the total.
The Exxon Mobil Corporation global headquarters are located in Irving, Texas. ExxonMobil markets products around the world under the brands of Exxon, Mobil, and Esso. It also owns hundreds of smaller subsidiaries such as Imperial Oil Limited (69.6% ownership) in Canada, and SeaRiver Maritime, a petroleum shipping company.
The upstream division dominates the company's cashflow, accounting for approximately 70% of revenue. The company employs over 82,000 people worldwide, as indicated in ExxonMobil's 2006 Corporate Citizen Report, with approximately 4,000 employees in its Fairfax downstream headquarters and 27,000 people in its Houston upstream headquarters.
Exxon Mobil Corporation was formed in 1999 by the merger of two major oil companies, Exxon and Mobil. Both Exxon and Mobil were descendants of the John D. Rockefeller corporation, Standard Oil which was established in 1870. The reputation of Standard Oil in the public eye suffered badly after publication of Ida M. Tarbell's classic exposé The History of the Standard Oil Company in 1904, leading to a growing outcry for the government to take action against the company.
By 1911, with public outcry at a climax, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Standard Oil must be dissolved and split into 34 companies. Two of these companies were Jersey Standard ("Standard Oil Company of New Jersey"), which eventually became Exxon, and Socony ("Standard Oil Company of New York"), which eventually became Mobil.
In the same year, the nation's kerosene output was eclipsed for the first time by gasoline. The growing automotive market inspired the product trademark Mobiloil, registered by Socony in 1920.
Over the next few decades, both companies grew significantly. Jersey Standard, led by Walter C. Teagle, became the largest oil producer in the world. It acquired a 50 percent share in Humble Oil & Refining Co., a Texas oil producer. Socony purchased a 45 percent interest in Magnolia Petroleum Co., a major refiner, marketer and pipeline transporter. In 1931, Socony merged with Vacuum Oil Co., an industry pioneer dating back to 1866 and a growing Standard Oil spin-off in its own right.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Jersey Standard had oil production and refineries in Indonesia but no marketing network. Socony-Vacuum had Asian marketing outlets supplied remotely from California. In 1933, Jersey Standard and Socony-Vacuum merged their interests in the region into a 50-50 joint venture. Standard-Vacuum Oil Co., or "Stanvac," operated in 50 countries, from East Africa to New Zealand, before it was dissolved in 1962.
Mobil Chemical Company was established in 1950. As of 1999, its principal products included basic olefins and aromatics, ethylene glycol and polyethylene. The company produced synthetic lubricant base stocks as well as lubricant additives, propylene packaging films and catalysts. Exxon Chemical Company (first named Enjay Chemicals) became a worldwide organization in 1965 and in 1999 was a major producer and marketer of olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene along with specialty lines such as elastomers, plasticizers, solvents, process fluids, oxo alcohols and adhesive resins. The company was an industry leader in metallocene catalyst technology to make unique polymers with improved performance.
In 1955, Socony-Vacuum became Socony Mobil Oil Co. and in 1966 simply Mobil Oil Corp. A decade later, the newly incorporated Mobil Corporation absorbed Mobil Oil as a wholly owned subsidiary. Jersey Standard changed its name to Exxon Corporation in 1972 and established Exxon as a trademark throughout the United States. In other parts of the world, Exxon and its affiliated companies continued to use its Esso trademark.
On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska and spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil. The Exxon Valdez oil spill was the second largest in U.S. history, and in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez incident, the U.S. Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. An initial award of $5 billion USD punitive was reduced to $507.5 million by the US Supreme Court in June 2008, and distributions of this award have commenced.
In 1998, Exxon and Mobil signed a $73.7 billion definitive agreement to merge and form a new company called Exxon Mobil Corporation, the largest company on the planet. After shareholder and regulatory approvals, the merger was completed on November 30, 1999. The merger of Exxon and Mobil was unique in American history because it reunited the two largest companies of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil trust, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey/Exxon and Standard Oil Company of New York/Mobil, which had been forcibly separated by government order nearly a century earlier. This reunion resulted in the largest merger in US corporate history.
In 2000, ExxonMobil sold a refinery in Benicia, California and 340 Exxon-branded stations to Valero Energy Corporation, as part of an FTC-mandated divestiture of California assets. ExxonMobil continues to supply petroleum products to over 700 Mobil-branded retail outlets in California.
In 2005, ExxonMobil's stock price surged in parallel with rising oil prices, surpassing General Electric as the largest corporation in the world in terms of market capitalization. At the end of 2005, it reported record profits of US $36 billion in annual income, up 42% from the previous year (the overall annual income was an all-time record for annual income by any business, and included $10 billion in the third quarter alone, also an all-time record income for a single quarter by any business). The company and the American Petroleum Institute (the oil and chemical industry's lobbying organization) put these profits in context by comparing oil industry profits to those of other large industries such as pharmaceuticals and banking.
On June 12, 2008, ExxonMobil announced that it was exiting the retail fuel business, citing the increasing difficulty to run gas stations under rising crude oil costs. The multi-year process will gradually phase the corporation out of the direct market, and will affect 820 company-owned stations and approximately 1,400 other stations operated by dealers distributing across the United States. The sale will not result in the disappearance of Exxon and Mobil branded stations; the new owners will continue to sell ExxonMobil gasoline and license the appropriate names from ExxonMobil, who will in turn get compensated for use of the brand.