The classic system based on the fact that a company must own the plants and the refineries, and that they explore their own oil which will be refined in their own refinery. This seems not to be efficient anymore. Wall Street controls almost every big company and it is almost a habit not to refine your own oil.
“ConocoPhillips's aggressive acquisition policy of recent years landed it with a number of unprofitable refineries, notably on the US east coast and in Europe.”
This is why ConocoPhillips will break up in two separately traded companies. One for the exploration and one for the refining of crude oil.
If this draw works, thEn it is possible that even other big companies will choose this new way and Big Oil will divide in smaller parts.
“Similar break-ups of the other super-majors have been mooted, for BP in particular, both before and after its disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year. Although the independent analyst Oppenheimer & Co estimates that a split could increase ExxonMobil's value by $80bn, it seems more likely that ConocoPhillips's peers will stick with their current structure for a few more years yet, while shedding mature oilfields and poorer-quality refineries.”