Foreign Policy Digital

Oil’s Power Players

The United States may be a growing force in energy markets, but national oil companies still reign supreme.

The investments, organizations, and profits of national oil companies are as massive as they are misunderstood. As the United States rises to the top of oil (and natural gas) markets, having become the world’s largest single producer, it may be tempting to write off national oil companies as a thing of the past. But together, they remain the dominant global market force, producing the equivalent of 85 million barrels of oil and gas a day—roughly 55 percent of total production. Better understanding the motivations, business tactics, and governance of these companies is essential for U.S. foreign policy and energy statecraft. And by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)—where two of us work—that shines light on the secret workings of under-scrutinized state oil companies can help.

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