When we think of oil, we think of gasoline and diesel fuel for motor vehicles, but the beginning of the oil industry was kerosene for illumination. Kerosene was the foundation of the Rockefeller fortune and marked the birth of Big Oil. Oil provided an alternative fuel for lighting; if oil ran out, it would be back to whale oil, tallow, and vegetable oils. Oil was not indispensable or vital to the running of the economy; now, no oil, no economy. The transition from a preferred fuel for lighting to something without which modern society cannot survive started with Henry Ford putting America on wheels in the early 1900s. The transition was complete by the First World War when military vehicles, tanks, and fighter aircraft fueled by oil played a pivotal role in securing victory for the Allies. Oil had become as important as armaments and ammunition in the conduct of war. During the Second World War, one of the principal targets of the Allies’ bombing was the coal plants that produced gasoline to fuel the Wehrmacht. As a depleting resource, oil has moved beyond supporting war efforts to being a cause of war. This chapter looks at the historical development of two of the world’s largest oil companies and the role that Big Oil may play in supplying the world with energy products as we proceed “Beyond Petroleum.”