21st Century Energy Superpower China, Energy, and Global Power
“You can’t really appreciate the significance of China’s newfound energy prominence if you don’t first grasp the role of energy in America’s rise to global preeminence.
That the northeastern region of the young United States was richly endowed with waterpower and coal deposits was critical to the country’s early industrialization as well as to the North’s eventual victory in the Civil War. It was the discovery of oil in western Pennsylvania in 1859, however, that would turn the U.S. into the decisive actor on the global stage. Oil extraction and exports fueled American prosperity in the early twentieth century — a time when the country was the planet’s leading producer — while nurturing the rise of its giant corporations.
It should never be forgotten that the world’s first great transnational corporation — John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company — was founded on the exploitation and export of American petroleum. Anti-trust legislation would break up Standard Oil in 1911, but two of its largest descendants, Standard Oil of New York and Standard Oil of New Jersey, were later fused into what is now the world’s wealthiest publicly traded enterprise, ExxonMobil. Another descendant, Standard Oil of California, became Chevron — today, the third richest American corporation.”