The world's largest oil and gas company was formed by the merger of Exxon and Mobil in 1999. The company has a presence in over 200 countries around the world.
In the United States, ExxonMobil has significant exploration and production, refining and marketing and chemicals operations. ExxonMobil is one of the largest oil and gas producers and reserve holders in the United States, with a portfolio including Alaska, onshore Gulf Coast and deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
ExxonMobil has interests in 38 refineries located in 21 countries and markets its products through more than 32,000 retail service stations.
ExxonMobil is a leader in the petrochemical industry with interest in 49 wholly owned and joint-venture facilities around the world.
In 2008, the company again reported record revenues of $477.3 billion and net income of $45.2 billion. Profits were the highest ever for an American company and aided by the high cost of gasoline in 2008.
ExxonMobil added 2.2 billion oil-equivalent barrels to its resource base in 2008, with key additions from Canada, the onshore United States, deepwater Gulf of Mexico and West Africa. Overall, the corporation’s resource base grew by 0.3 billion oil-equivalent barrels to 72.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels, taking into account production, revisions to existing discoveries, and asset sales.
Over the past five years, ExxonMobil has invested about $3.5 billion in research.
Both Exxon and Mobil trace their roots to the late 19th century, when American industry was booming in numerous sectors - steel, railroads and banking, to name a few. The nation's young petroleum industry picked up the pace, too, to meet the growth in demand for kerosene, lubricants and greases.
John D. Rockefeller acquired a diversity of petroleum interests during that period and, in 1882, organized them under the Standard Oil Trust. That same year marked the incorporation of two refining and marketing organizations -- Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey and Standard Oil Co. of New York. "Jersey Standard" and "Socony," as they were commonly known, were the chief predecessor companies of Exxon and Mobil, respectively.
For both companies, the remainder of the century was a time of expansion beyond America's shores. Large "kerosene clippers" enabled overseas shipments of products in bulk quantities. Affiliates and sales offices of the two companies spread across Europe and Asia. Standard Oil's MEI FOO kerosene lamps introduced illumination across China and opened a vast new market.
In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Standard Oil Trust, resulting in the spin-off of 34 companies, including Jersey Standard and Socony. In the same year, the nation's kerosene output was eclipsed for the first time by a formerly discarded byproduct - gasoline. The growing automotive market ultimately inspired the product trademark Mobiloil, registered by Socony in 1920.
After the Standard Oil breakup, Jersey Standard and Socony separately faced rising competition with fewer resources at their disposal. Neither company was fully integrated. Over the next two decades, each company vigorously built up every segment of its businesses, from production and pipelines to refining and research. They also expanded across the U.S. and abroad.
Big acquisitions and mergers helped: Jersey Standard acquired a 50 percent interest 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.
Distribution remained an issue for both companies. 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.
The spirit of expansion was temporarily interrupted by World War II. Each company beefed up refining output to supply the Allied war effort. Also aiding the cause were new technologies, such as Jersey Standard's groundbreaking process for boosting fuel octane and Socony-Vacuum's synthetic lubricants. Both companies suffered wartime casualties. Tankers and their crews were lost on the high seas. Refineries and other facilities in Europe and Asia were destroyed.
In the post-war years, renewed prosperity in the U.S. and rebuilding in Europe helped put Jersey Standard and Socony-Vacuum firmly back on their global growth tracks. New technologies and growing markets also spurred the development of petrochemicals and an array of derivative products.
Over the next years, ExxonMobil's predecessor companies learned to transform refinery by-products into many basic petrochemicals and numerous derivatives. Since the end of World War II, the two companies have each advanced technologies, expanded business lines and established markets in more than 100 countries.
Mobil Chemical Company was established in 1960. As of 1999, principal products included basic olefins and aromatics, ethylene glycol and polyethylene. The company produced synthetic lube base stocks as well as lube additives, propylene packaging films and catalysts. Manufacturing facilities were located in 10 countries.
Exxon Chemical Company became a worldwide organization in 1965 and in 1999 was a major producer and marketer of olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene along with speciality 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. Manufacturing facilities were located in 24 countries.
The two chemical companies combined their operations within ExxonMobil Chemical.
In 1955, Socony-Vacuum became Socony Mobil Oil Co. and, in 1966, simply Mobil Oil Corp. . A decade later, a newly incorporated Mobil Corporation embraced Mobil Oil as a wholly owned subsidiary. Jersey Standard changed its name to Exxon Corporation in 1972 and established Exxon as an uncontested trademark throughout the United States. In other parts of the world, Exxon and its affiliated companies continued to use its long-time Esso trademark and affiliate name.
In the 1970s, the oil industry and the world were rocked by an Arab oil embargo and by revolution in Iran. Both events triggered disruptions in oil supplies, extreme price hikes, conservation efforts and the development of alternative energy sources. Exxon, Mobil and other companies escalated exploration and development outside the Middle East - in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Africa and Asia. By the early 1980s, oil was in surplus, and prices fell.
In 1998, Exxon and Mobil signed a definitive agreement to merge and form a new company called Exxon Mobil Corporation. After shareholder and regulatory approvals, the merger was completed November 30, 1999.
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Updated February 21, 2009