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Becoming Big Oil: How the 10 Largest Oil Companies Were Born

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Becoming Big Oil: How the 10 Largest Oil Companies Were Born

Becoming Big Oil: How the 10 Largest Oil Companies Were Born

The size and scope of Big Oil is truly mind-boggling.

For example, Chinese government-owned Sinopec, the world’s largest oil company by 2014 revenues, employs 358,571 people and brought in a whopping $455 billion in revenue last year.

Royal Dutch Shell is no slouch, either. The world’s third largest oil company generated $422 billion in revenue in 2014 and is the U.S. market leader in gas stations with 25,000.

Collectively, the numbers from the world’s 10 biggest oil companies are even more impressive. Worldwide, they generated $3.26 trillion in revenue in 2014, which is more than the entire GDP of the United Kingdom. The combined daily oil production of these same companies is 40 million barrels of oil, enough to fill 2,543 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Big Oil has more behemoth companies than all other industries combined. Even with the recent decline in oil prices, half of Fortune’s 10 Largest Companies list is composed of oil conglomerates. The Swiss commodity giant Glencore, one of the “other” five companies on the list, also makes a significant portion of revenue from trading oil.

The question is: how did these companies get so big?

Today’s infographic, from drill rig supplier Rigsource, tries to answer this question. Looking at a century of mergers and acquisitions, it becomes clear that these companies were not always giants. They became their current size through various mergers and acquisitions that happened over the course of the last century, and it is these economies of scale that has allowed them to generate the kind of revenue they do today.

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Energy

Visualized: The Growth of Clean Energy Stocks

Visual Capitalist partnered with EnergyX to analyze five major clean energy stocks and explore the factors driving this growth.

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The teaser image shows the growth of clean energy stocks and hints at their cumulative five-year returns.

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The following content is sponsored by EnergyX

The Growth of Clean Energy Stocks

Over the last few years, energy investment trends have shifted from fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable energy sources. Long-term energy investors now see significant returns from clean energy stocks, especially compared to those invested in fossil fuels alone.

For this graphic, Visual Capitalist has collaborated with EnergyX to examine the rise of clean energy stocks and gain a deeper understanding of the factors driving this growth.

Sustainable Energy Stock Performance

In 2023, the IEA reported that 62% of all energy investment went toward sustainable sources. As the world embraces sustainable energy and technologies like EVs, it’s no surprise that clean energy companies provide solid returns for their investors over long periods. 

Taking the top-five clean energy stocks by market cap (as of April 2024) and charting their five-year cumulative returns, it is clear that investments in clean energy are growing:

CompanyPrice: 01/04/2019Price: 12/29/20245-Year-Return %
First Solar, Inc.$46.32$172.28272%
Enphase Energy, Inc.$5.08$132.142,501%
Consolidated Edison, Inc.$76.55$90.9719%
NextEra Energy, Inc.$43.13$60.7441%
Brookfield Renewable Partners$14.78$26.2878%
promotional graphic with a button and wheel that promotes the EnergyX investment site

But how does this compare to the performance of fossil fuel stocks? 

When comparing the performance of the S&P Global Oil Index and the S&P Clean Energy Index between 2019 and 2023, we see that the former returned 15%, whereas the latter returned an impressive 41%. This trend demonstrates the potential for clean energy stocks to yield significant returns on an industry level, sparking optimism and excitement for potential investors. 

A Shift In Returns

With global investment trends moving away from traditional, non-sustainable sources, the companies that could shape the energy transition provide investors with alternative opportunities and avenues for growth. 

One such company is EnergyX. The lithium technology company has patented a groundbreaking technology that can improve lithium extraction rates by an incredible 300%, and its stock price has grown tenfold since its first offering in 2021.

promotional graphic that promotes the EnergyX investment site

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