Maybe It’s Time to Retire the Phrase ‘Big Oil’
It’s been a week bookended with bad financial news for the oil and gas industry. It began with Exxon getting the boot from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and now comes news that energy companies are the tiniest piece of another venerable stock index, the S&P 500. These may be different indices, but they tell the same story: Big Oil is becoming a terrible investment.
The S&P 500 news comes courtesy of BloombergNEF chief content officer Nat Bullard, who tweeted the ignominious milestone on Thursday evening. The energy sector—which includes oil majors as well as refiners—dipped to just 2.34% of the overall S&P 500. That’s an infinitesimally small chunk compared to tech, which has marched steadily upward over the decade since the 2008 financial crash, as well as other sectors, from health care to real estate. Frankly, Big Oil just isn’t so big anymore.
The S&P 500 is designed to reflect the overall state of the economy, and it includes major companies from various sectors. Companies under the “energy” banner include familiar names found on gas stations across the country, like Exxon, Chevron, and Phillips 66, as well as firms like Halliburton and fracking giant Devon Energy. All of them have played crucial roles in building the American economy to what it is, though many have also spread lies about climate change, profited wildly off of war, and otherwise used their positions as incumbents to squash competition, including from renewable energy.
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