Energy analysts are paying a lot of attention to which companies are cutting back on drilling, which are going bankrupt, and who will be able to survive the downturn. At least 37 oil and gas companies have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2015. Low oil prices have forced the entire industry to cut spending and scrap rigs, and the contraction of U.S. shale is finally starting to show up in the production data.
U.S. shale has been significant, but the bulk of global oil production comes from large oilfields that are run by the largest companies.
Rig Source, Inc., a drilling equipment company, published an excellent infographic in October that depicts details about the largest oil companies in the world, which astutely demonstrates their outsized importance on global oil markets. By gobbling up other producers over the years, these 10 companies morphed into the behemoths that they are today. (The data below is largely taken from that article, and the infographic is republished below, and can also be found here). Related: Why OPEC Can’t Win The Oil Price War
According to Rig Source, the top 10 largest oil companies account for 40 million barrels of output per day. In other words, 10 oil companies account for just over 40 percent of the world’s entire oil production. Together, these firms took in $3.26 trillion in revenue last year, which is equivalent to more than the UK’s entire GDP.
Here are the top 10 largest oil companies by revenue, with revenue totals from 2014:
1. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., or “Sinopec” ($455.06 billion) – the state-owned Chinese oil company Sinopec claims the mantle as the largest in the world. It has consolidated the Chinese oil industry, scooping up upstream and downstream players over the years. The Beijing-based company doesn’t produce as much oil as the other 9 companies on the list, however. Instead it specializes in downstream refined products. Sinopec produces 1.6 million barrels per day (mb/d), which, while significant, is less than other majors.
2. China National Petroleum Corp. ($432 billion) – CNPC is the second largest state-owned Chinese oil company, and also second largest in the world. CNPC is a bit smaller than Sinopec in terms of revenue, but its 4.4 mb/d in production is nearly three times that of its peer. Earlier this year, there was speculation that Sinopec would merge with CNPC subsidiary PetroChina, creating a truly massive state-owned company. The companies denied the rumors.
3. Royal Dutch Shell ($422 billion) – the Anglo-Dutch company tops the list in terms of private oil companies. Shell has a long and storied history, and has grown over time. Its latest acquisition was BG Group, a major LNG exporter. Shell has operations all over the world, and is going where others have not – including one of the deepest drilling platforms in the world in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the world’s first floating LNG production vessel. The company is in the midst of transition, however, with high-profile failures in the Arctic, and disappointments in Canadian oil sands and U.S. shale. Shell is pivoting towards natural gas for its future, a move symbolized by its purchase of BG. Shell produces 3.9 mb/d. Related: Poor Quarter for Canada’s Oilfield Services
4. ExxonMobil ($394 billion) – the Texas-based oil major is one of the most iconic oil companies, and it is the largest private company by production with 5.3 mb/d. When Exxon acquired Mobil in 1999 – both companies are descendants of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil – it created the largest company on the planet. Today ExxonMobil has operations on every continent except Antarctica, with assets upstream, midstream, and downstream, in both oil and natural gas.
5. Saudi Aramco ($378 billion) – the state-owned Saudi Aramco is arguably the most important oil company in the world with its truly massive 12.5 mb/d of production. The Saudi firm is what gives Saudi Arabia and OPEC its enormous influence over oil markets. The company originally was a joint venture between the state and U.S.-based Aramco, but the Saudi government took over the entire company following the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Saudi Aramco’s assets are valued at $30 trillion, dwarfing any other oil company on the planet.
6. BP ($358.7 billion) – BP’s history stretches back more than a century, originally setup to extract oil in Iran. Over the years since, the company now known as BP has picked up assets along the way, with a string of more recent acquisitions in the United States. But BP has downsized substantially since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 in order to pay the enormous tab. BP produces 4.1 mb/d.
7. Total S.A. ($260 billion) – like many of the other companies on the list, the French oil giant Total is integrated up and downstream, with operations around the world. But it also acquired SunPower in 2011, a California-based solar company. Total is in the midst of cost-cutting campaign to right-size its operations during the current oil price downturn. Total produces 2.7 mb/d.
Related: Oil Prices Testing August Lows As Inventories Swell
8. Kuwait Petroleum Corp. ($252 billion) – Rig Source notes that the Kuwait Petroleum Corp. is unique in that it has never acquired another company, the only top 10 oil producer to have never grown through acquisition. While not nearly as large as Saudi Aramco, the Kuwaiti oil company is among a handful of other Gulf producers that form the backbone of OPEC. Kuwait Petroleum produces 3.2 mb/d.
9. Chevron Corp. ($192 billion) – the California-based oil major has grown significantly through acquisition. It acquired Gulf Oil in 1984, Texaco in 2000, and Unocal Corp. in 2005. Today, Chevron produces a significant volume of oil offshore, and in recent years has made a large bet on LNG. Chevron produces 3.5 mb/d.
10. Lukoil ($144 billion) – Lukoil is one of a few large private oil companies based in Russia. Lukoil acquired Getty Oil in 2000 and Scholtzmeyer Bros. in 2004. Today, Lukoil has major oil-producing assets in Russia, and also notable production from Basra in southern Iraq. Lukoil produces 2.2 mb/d.
See the Rig Source infographic below
(Click to enlarge)
By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com:
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Thanks for this.
It's worth recalling that acquisitions are how the independent oil majors have been increasing their reserves, which are important in how Wall Street views an oil company for investment. Reserve growth comes through buying up reserves of other companies, not by the drill bit. This indicates how little there is out there to develop anymore.