Not Just “Oil Companies” – Why These Texas Businesses Stay Successful

Bloomberg’s Justin Fox: “Stop calling Shell an oil company.”

By Joy Diaz & Laura RiceSeptember 17, 2015 1:14 pm| ,

With oil prices edging slightly higher – closer to $50 a barrel in recent days – they’re still nowhere near the $100 mark like last year.

With prices so low today, one may wonder why companies like Exxon-Mobil, Philipps 66, Valero – all headquartered in Texas – don’t appear to be in panic mode.

Bloomberg View columnist Justin Fox says this is because companies are increasingly becoming natural gas companies, as well.

“It hasn’t been the greatest year for natural gas prices either, but it is interesting when you look at how these companies make their money and where their reserves are,” he says.

Although companies also invest in credit card and chemical subsidiaries or shipping and transport services offered to other firms, Fox says the majority of profits come from exploration and drilling, as well as selling oil and natural gas.

So what could we call these energy companies instead?

Fox suggests the term “hydrocarbon.”

“All of these companies, that’s what they do – that’s their expertise,” he says. “Getting hydrocarbons out of the ground and then refining it and then transporting and selling it.”