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Transforming Energy, 1973–2005

The fifth volume in a 125-year history of one of the most powerful and profitable corporations in the world explores how Exxon’s core values and management enabled the company to adapt and succeed during a period of dramatic change in the energy industry.

Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
May 2013
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662 pages | 6 x 9 | 60 b&w photos |

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The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, which houses the extensive ExxonMobil Historical Collection, is honored to publish the fifth volume of Exxon’s corporate history, which extends the history of Exxon and its predecessors to more than 125 years, the longest in-depth account of a private company in existence.

ExxonMobil’s history stretches from the time of kerosene lamps to the era of jet travel, from the days of finding oil by searching for surface indications to the days of 3-D seismic, which uses powerful computers to create images of oil deep underground. Its learning curve was particularly steep in the years covered by this book, 1973–2005, when the company adapted to new realities that confronted it at every turn.

ExxonMobil has remained among the most profitable concerns in the history of modern capitalism by showing flexibility when faced with the need to adapt to changing conditions. As the company responded to sweeping changes in global markets, its decisions reflected a deeply held corporate culture that rested on the key operating values of engineering efficiency and financial discipline. This extensively researched volume demonstrates how Exxon’s core values and management enabled the company to adapt and succeed during a period of dramatic changes for the energy industry. Pratt and Hale provide readers a historical perspective from inside one of the most powerful corporations in the world.


Joseph A. Pratt is Cullen Professor of History and Business at the University of Houston and the author of numerous books about the oil and gas industry.

William E. Hale is a former senior adviser in ExxonMobil’s Public Affairs Department.