In today’s electricity powered world, energy has become the number one resource, that’s keeping our modern world afloat. Also, because of the “renewable energy” debate, the source of our energy, and even the process of making it have become an important factor in the energy field.
With many different branches this field contains, it might seem impossible to orient yourself within it. That’s what this article is for. We’ll take a look at some of the most known companies and examine their history, as well as their contribution to the overall energy market.
But first, let’s take a look at what even belongs into the energy field:
- Oil/gas/coal mining – before it’s turned to energy, most of the fuels have to be mined or extracted from the ground. Almost all of this extraction is done by big, privately owned companies.
- Fuel refining – it’s true that this is mostly done with oil. but many of the other fuel sources have to be processed in some way (like with plutonium for nuclear power plants).
- Energy making – the main thing in all of the energy field. There wouldn’t be much of anything else without the actual energy-making process. Even though there are many different processes, many of them have several similarities. For example, almost all of the power plants function on turning water into steam, which then spins several turbines, which then make energy.
- Energy distribution – another important thing. Energy wouldn’t be very useful if there wasn’t anyone to actually give it to you, would it? Be it with cables, pipes, or by other means, there must always be someone to take the energy to you.
So, now that we established the types of companies we’ll talk about, let’s get right into it.
When it comes to all thing oil and petrol, there are only a few like ExxonMobil. Since it’s creation in 1882 as the greatest descendant of Standart Oil – a company founded by J.D.Rockefeller, one of the best businessmen of his time. Whether it’s oil extracting, refining, or distributing, you can be sure ExxonMobil has it’s hands in it. Due to it’s vertical integration in the oil industry, it at least partially controls basically everything there is about oil/petrol.
The name ExxonMobil comes from the merge of the Standart Oil of New York, later renamed to “Mobil”, with the more recently formed Exxon – another descendant of Standart Oil. Today, ExxonMobil in one of the most powerful companies in the world. According to this poll, it’s ranked #15 on the global scale.
Let’s move onto something greener. NextEra Energy is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy. They focus not only on construction of wind turbines and solar panels, but also on researching newer, even more reliable sources of this energy. And, with even today’s cryptocurrency becoming greener, this is certainly a meaningful subject. It was founded in 1984 – almost 4 decades ago, and since then, it managed to (like ExxonMobil) get into the list of the world’s largest companies.
Although it’s message of renewable energy seems great on the surface, NextEra has had it’s fair share of controversies over the years. The biggest one of these occurred in 2016. NextEra basically tried to pass a law, that would heavily restrict almost all of personally owned solar panels. There was also that time when, even though they preach a message of renewable energy, NextEra tried to build a fairly big (5,000 Acres) coal-power plant. Overall, NextEra is definitely taking many steps forward, but also several steps back.
This company focuses much more on the distribution part of the energy field than on the creation itself. Founded in 1983 (just a year before NextEra), Dominion Energy has become one of the biggest energy distributor in the USA. Operating in 11 states on the west coast, it also serves as the greatest national storage for natural gas. Almost 40% of Dominion Energy’s energy comes from natural gas. They deliver this energy to more than 5 milion customer all over the states of west coast.
They are also attempting similar goals as NextEra. In 2018, Dominon Energy launched a big “grid transformation program”, promising to somewhat reduce their natural gas reserves, trading them for around 3,000 megawatts of solar and wind energy. They have been marked as one of the greatest contributors to a more sustainable energy industry in the USA, helping to improve not only the source of US energy, but also strengthen the national energy grid.
While other companies focus on several branches of the energy field, Schlumberger only really focuses on one – drilling. They are the largest offshore drilling company and contractor of the world. It is also the first company on this list that wasn’t founded in the USA. Schlumberger was founded in 1926 in Paris, and was named after it’s founders – Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger. Although it was founded in France, Schlumberger has moved it’s HQ into Houston, Texas in the 1970s
At first, the main focus of Schumberger was more helping other petrol companies do their job better (seismic measurements, well testing, construction and consulting, that sort of thing). Over the years, they have started mining petrol and oil themselves. And because they had experiences not only in the drilling itself, but also with the tricks to make it more efficient, Schlumberger quickly climbed to the top of it’s field.
We’ve talked about many different companies now, but General Electric has something that most can only wish for – Nobel Prizes. Yes, prizes, there were two of them. Irving Langmuir i chemistry in 1932 and Ivar Giaever in physics in 1974. Ivar Giaever even still works for General Electric. But now on the company itself
General Electric was founded in 1892 (just 10 years after ExxonMobil), by Charles A. Coffin, J. P. Morgan and Thomas Edison. In the beginning, GE was more of a “group” of three companies, each one under control of one of the founders. Together, they focused on electric motors manufacturing, light fixtures, and other electrical equipment. And, unlike many other companies we’ve talked about in the past, they pretty much stayed that way. Even today, GE’s main focus is electrical equipment.
Although GE is currently going through many massive changes, where it’s dividing itself into three smaller companies. One off-shoot, GE Medical, is going to focus on development and manufacturing of medical equipment. The other offshoot, GE Vernova, is going to more closely follow in GE’s main goal of making electrical equipment. And the “legally main brach” of GE, GE Aerospace, will set it’s sights on aviation engineering. These changes were first unveiled in 2020, but because of the global issues of that time, they are planing to finish this division sometime in 2024.
Our world is practically fully dependent on electricity. Because of that, the energy field has become the most important sector of our modern economy. So many different companies are always fighting to get on top and stay there for as long as possible. I hope this article was able to bring the frankly massive world of energy field a little closer to you.