You might be surprised to learn that really, really, "Big Oil" are nationally owned oil companies not companies like Exxon or BP. Check this out from this week's Economist:
- Yet Big Oil is pretty small next to the industry's true giants: the national oil companies (NOCs) owned or controlled by the governments of oil-rich countries, which manage over 90% of the world's oil, depending on how you count. Of the 20 biggest oil firms, in terms of reserves of oil and gas, 16 are NOCs. Saudi Aramco, the biggest, has more than ten times the reserves that Exxon does. Those with misgivings about oil—that its price is too high, that reserves are running out, that it damages the environment, that it is more a curse than an asset for countries that produce it—must look to NOCs for reassurance.
The column goes on to point out that these state owned oil compaines are very similar to other state owned companies; they are often poorly run and inefficient. Thus, these true "Big Oil" giants should be privatized.