Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, traces its origins to an oil-refining business started by John D. Rockefeller, Maurice B. Clark, and Samuel Andrews in 1863 in Cleveland, Ohio. The business first incorporated as the Standard Oil Co. in Ohio in 1870, and by 1880 had grown into an oil empire controlling between 90% and 95% of all oil produced in the U.S. Despite a court order to dissolve in 1892, the company, which had been combined into a trust, maintained its power and operations. The trust shifted its headquarters to New York City and later incorporated as a holding company in New Jersey in 1899. But in 1911, the U.S. government ordered the company to divest its major holdings. One of those holdings was the Standard Oil Company of New York, which eventually became Mobil Oil Corp. in 1966. Another was the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, which was renamed Exxon Corp. in 1972. The two companies merged in 1999 to become Exxon Mobil Corp. Today, Exxon Mobil is the world's second-largest public energy company with a market capitalization of about $175 billion, and posted revenue of $255.6 billion in 2019. Saudi Aramco, which went public in December of 2019, is the world's largest energy company.
Exxon Mobil's main business operations, which are conducted through its divisions and affiliate companies, consist of the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. The company also engages in the manufacture, trade, transport, and sale of crude oil, natural gas, petroleum products, petrochemicals, and a variety of other specialty products.
Exxon Mobil no longer controls the same market share as its predecessor in the late 19th century, but it still commands an overwhelming U.S. share of sales in the combined upstream, downstream, chemical, and other segments of the oil and gas market, according to CSI Market.
While Exxon Mobil has grown primarily internally, it's sped up its growth and broadened its revenue base through a number of acquisitions over the past two decades. Some of these are oil deals that add to its core franchise. Other acquisitions extend Exxon Mobil's interests in shale oil and gas properties in the Permian Basin and Canada. Other takeovers have made Exxon Mobil a major producer of chemical compounds used to make consumer products such as clothing, computers, snowboards, and tennis racquets.
We look at five of these acquisitions in more detail below. A special note that Exxon Mobil does not disclose the current annual revenue or profit contributed by these properties.
XTO Energy Inc.
- Type of Business: Natural Gas and Oil Company
- Acquisition Price: $41 billion (stock and debt transaction)
- Acquisition Date: December 14, 2009 (announced)
XTO Energy was first established as the Cross Timbers Oil Company in 1986. Its shares were traded under the ticker symbol "XTO" after the company went public in 1993 and before officially changing its name to XTO Energy in 2001. The company continued to expand and had become the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. by 2009. In that same year, Exxon Mobil announced the purchase of XTO Energy for $41 billion, including $10 billion of XTO's debt. Today, the company has operations throughout the U.S., Western Canada, and Argentina. The acquisition demonstrates a big push by Exxon Mobil into the natural gas sector, especially shale.
- Type of Business: Oil and Gas Company
- Acquisition Price: $2.7 billion
- Acquisition Date: February 22, 2017 (completed)
InterOil, an oil and gas company focused primarily on Papua New Guinea but with head offices in Singapore and Port Moresby, was founded in 1997. Included among the company's assets is one of Asia's largest undeveloped gas fields, Elk-Antelope. Exxon Mobil announced it would acquire the company in mid-2016 and completed the transaction in early 2017. The deal bolsters the company's position in liquified natural gas (LNG).
- Type of Business: Oil and Energy Company
- Acquisition Price: $6.6 billion
- Acquisition Date: January 17, 2017
BOPCO was owned by the wealthy Bass family, which inherited its initial fortune from its uncle, oil tycoon Sid Richardson. Richardson amassed a fortune over his lifetime and upon his death in 1959, left $100 million to his nephew Perry Bass and his sons. The Bass brothers built upon that fortune, mostly through oil. In 2017, Exxon Mobil purchased companies owned by the family, including BOPCO. The upfront cost was $5.6 billion with additional contingent cash payments worth a total of $1 billion to be paid between 2020 and 2032. The acquisition came with 250,000 acres of leasehold in the Permian Basin, which augments Exxon Mobil's operations in that region known for shale deposits.
Celtic Exploration Ltd.
- Type of Business: Oil and Gas Exploration Company
- Acquisition Price: $2.52 billion
- Acquisition Date: February 26, 2013
Celtic Exploration, the oil and gas exploration and development company headquartered in the Canadian province of Alberta, was founded in 2002. The company's focus since its inception has been on acquiring land in Canada's shale regions. Celtic Exploration has oil and gas assets in the Montney shale gas region of British Columbia as well as in Alberta’s Duvernay shale region. Exxon Mobil announced that it agreed to acquire the company in 2012 and completed the transaction in early 2013. The deal demonstrates Exxon Mobil's continued push into shale oil and gas following its acquisition of XTO.
Jurong Aromatics Corp.
- Type of Business: Aromatic Chemical Producer
- Acquisition Price: Undisclosed
- Acquisition Date: August 27, 2017
Jurong Aromatics, headquartered in Singapore and founded in 2005, is a manufacturer of aromatics. Aromatics are a class of chemical compounds, including benzene, toluene, and xylene, that are used in the production of many consumer products from clothing and computers to snowboards and tennis racquets. Exxon Mobil did not disclose what it paid for Jurong, but news reports said it paid as much as $1.7 billion to beat out a number of other bidders. The acquisition will serve to bolster the company's petrochemical and refining business.