Prospecting the academic grounds on global energies patterns
The history of the supermajors traces back to the Seven Sisters, the seven oil companies which formed the Consortium of Iran cartel and dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the 1970s.
The Seven Sisters were:
Before the oil crisis of 1973 the members of the Seven Sisters controlled around 85% of the world oil reserves. The currently known today as super-majors began to emerge in the late 90s, in response to the fall in oil prices. Large petroleum companies began to merge, often in a effort to improve economies of scale, hedge against oil price volatility and reduce large cash reserves through reinvestment.
The following major mergers and acquisitions of oil and gas companies took place between 1998 and 2002:
This process of consolidation created some of the largest global corporations as defined by the Forbes ranking, and as of 2007 all were within the top 25. Between 2004 and 2007 the profits of the six supermajors totaled US$494.8 billion. That is in those three years of increasing oil price, the six largest oil companies (IOCs) made in profits he equivalent of the Chinese GNP of 2009 (4,822,913 millions US$) (this page indicates the biggest worldwide companies)
Scholars acknowledge today the growing power of NOCs which have to be distinguished from OPEC.
The Financial Times has used the label The New Seven Sisters to refer to a group of what it argues are the most influential national oil and gas companies based in countries outside of the OCDE, namely CNPC (China), Gazprom(Russia), National Iranian Oil Company (Iran), Petrobras (Brazil), PDVSA (Venezuela), Petronas (Malaysia), Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia).