Big Oil

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Big Oil is a pejorative term used to describe the major petroleum companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron-Texaco, BP, Total, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell. These are some of the largest corporations in the world, although several other state-owned oil companies are also becoming large oil exploration and production companies. These are Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom, NIOC of Iran, Venezuela’s PDVSA, CNPC of China, Brazil’s Petrobras and Petronas according to the Financial Times.[1]


From 1990 to 2006, the oil industry as a whole contributed $48,972,754 to Democratic candidates while contributing $150,571,902 to Republican candidates, for a 25% to 75% split between the two parties and a total of $200,865,355 in campaign contributions.[2] The disparity in the donations between the parties was widened from a 38%/62% split in 1990 to a 17%/82% split in 2006 in favor of Republican candidates.