Introduction


“I wanted to write about oil in an age of limits and change.” In Private Empire: ExxonMobil & American Power, Steve Coll,1 twice the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, explores oil’s place in the world by looking at ExxonMobil, the largest company headquartered in the United States, and its place in the United States and abroad as it produces a singular resource and epitomizes American political and economic authority.


In Part One, Mr Coll describes Private Empire: ExxonMobil & American Power and how to write about a crucial resource, a reticent corporation and what they say about America’s place in the world.


In Part Two, Mr Coll discusses ExxonMobil’s search for oil in increasingly unstable environments and the challenges this poses to the way ExxonMobil does business.


In Part Three, Mr Coll discusses how ExxonMobil’s roots in Standard Oil and the Rockefeller family affect its present and future.


In Part Four, Mr Coll discusses regulation and the institutional and political counterweights to ExxonMobil.


In Part Five, Mr Coll discusses the impact of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the future of energy, energy companies and American power.

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GWorks Interviews

Steve Coll

“I wanted to write about oil in an age of limits and change.” In Private Empire: ExxonMobil & American Power, Steve Coll explores oil’s place in the world by looking at ExxonMobil, the largest company headquartered in the United States, and its place in the United States and abroad as it produces a singular resource and epitomizes American political and economic authority.


Mr Coll recently resigned as President and CEO of New America Foundation, where he will remain as a Senior Fellow. Twice a Pulitzer Prize winning author—once for explanatory journalism; once for Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan & bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001—, Mr Coll is the author of eight books on the oil industry; the telecommunications industry; financial regulation; South East Asia; Osama bin Laden; the Central Intelligence Agency; and Afghanistan. He covered foreign affairs for and was Senior Editor and Managing Editor at The Washington Post. He is a Staff Writer for The New Yorker.


Part One: An Age of Limits & Change

Tuesday 3 July 2012

“I wanted to write about oil in an age of limits and change.”


Private Empire: ExxonMobil & American Power and how to write about a crucial resource, a reticent corporation and what they say about America’s place in the world


Part Two: Chad: A Basic Dilemma

Tuesday 10 July 2012

“Chad was one of the places I visited and worked. And, as I was going around the country and trying to understand ExxonMobil’s presence there, the biggest question I had is, ‘Why are they here? Why are they here at all?’”


ExxonMobil’s search for oil in increasingly unstable environments and the challenges this poses to the way ExxonMobil does business.


Part Three: Standard Bearers

Thursday 12 July 2012

“[Y]ou can still see this sense of conservative religious mission present in the corporation’s outlook on the world. But, they

remain ideologically committed to capitalism above all else.”


How does a past rooted in Standard Oil & the Rockefeller family affect the present & future ExxonMobil


Part Four: Coherence

Tuesday 17 July 2012

“I think that there’s a lot of incoherence in the politics of energy and energy policy. Except that one very large, durable, coherent corporation is sitting right in the middle of our political economy.”


ExxonMobil’s relationship to environmentalism and government regulation and their place in a political economy.


Part Five: Valdez|Exxon

Tuesday 19 July 2012

“[I]n the energy area, we are not organized

to govern ourselves in proportion to the

risks that we are collectively under.”


The impact of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the future of energy, energy companies and American power.



For more, please visit GWorks Interviews