Oil is one of the most important commodities in the world. When transformed into petroleum, it is a key energy source used in vehicles, planes, heating, asphalt, and electricity. Outside of being a crucial energy source, petroleum is used in plastics, paints, chemicals, tape and so much more. It’s hard to imagine a world without oil.

Exploration and Production

The industry includes companies that specialize in crude petroleum production, the mining and extraction of oil from shale or sands and the recovery of hydrocarbon liquids. Some of the biggest oil and gas players are involved in the exploration and production of oil. Exxon, Chevron, and BP are three to name but a few.

The sector also includes all natural gas producers and those that recover sulfur from natural gas. It does not include companies that transport, refine, or market oil and natural gas. For those companies that perform all operations, also known as integrated oil companies, or super majors or big oil, only the estimated revenues from included activities are counted toward the $3.3 trillion industry figure. The exploration and production sector employs approximately 4 million people across 350,000 businesses.

Bottom Line

The global oil and gas exploration and production sector makes up a large portion of the global economy, and the growth of this industry is only expected to increase in the future. It is predicted that global oil production will reach 100 million barrels per day in the next few years, up from the current 85 million approximated figure.

The nature of oil and gas exploration projects means that the industry relies much more heavily on capital equipment than human labor, so employment is not likely to rise as much as total market capitalization.
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