New Revenue Models For Big Oil?

Will the big oil companies change their revenue models? This is a question that popped into my head as I saw a commercial for a petroleum company (it may have been Exxon…I don’t really watch enough TV to see commercials enough to remember who does what) talking about their commitment to finding new energy sources for cars and other such non-gasoline related items. It also reminded me of BP ads pointing out they were interested in other energy sources too.

What do you make of these commercials? Do you believe that Exxon, the company that posted $10.89 BILLION in profits in quarter…not a year…but a mere three months…is dedicated to other energy sources? Why should they? $10.89 billion. Staggering.

There has been talk of alternate energy sources (bio-diesel, electric, solar, etc) but none have taken off. Even with oil prices where they are, these alternate sources have gone nowhere. Why is that? Well…let’s think of the infrastructure we’ve got right now. We have cars that run on gasoline. We have gas stations peppering our lands. Buy an electric car, where are you going to recharge it? Bio-diesel? Can’t really find those gas stations anywhere either. So we’re stuck with what’s readily available.

Ponder this though. These petrol companies know consumers are feeling disenchanted with current gas prices. Hybrid vehicles and scooter sales are on the upswing. More people are taking mass transit. This means less gasoline is sold. So perhaps these companies WILL look for alternate sources of energy to sell to consumers. But…are you ready…here’s where it’s all about to make sense.

Let’s go back to that $10.89 billion in profits in three months. They easily have enough money to dump into R&D. They could come up with a product to sell to consumers. Next, they already have the most expansive distribution network available in the land. You hear people complaining about a Starbucks or a Wal-Mart on every corner, but what you REALLY see is a gas station on every corner. And in the most remote lands as long as there is a highway. 

So there you go. I would actually be surprised if I didn’t see one of the oil companies introduce a new non-petroleum based product. They’ve got the money, they’ve got the distribution, they’ve got the willing consumer. It’s only a matter of time before we see the next retro-fitting of our gas stations and what they will offer for their new methods of revenue generation.