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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Has Big Oil Regained Its Pre-Crash Position?

The oil price crash battered the 2016 earnings of energy firms, but the usual suspects are still there in the rankings of the biggest oil and gas companies this year. And the largest oil companies started turning in much higher profits for the first quarter of 2017, thanks to the relative increase in oil prices this year compared to Q1 last year.

ExxonMobil is still king on the Forbes list of the 25 largest oil and gas companies in 2017, part of the 2017 Global 2000 ranking of The World’s Biggest Public Companies. The ranking is a composite score of equally weighted measures of revenue, profits, assets, and market value.

Forbes has estimated that the 25 biggest oil and gas companies on the Global 2000 list generated a combined US$2.2 trillion in sales during the 12-month measurement period, down compared to US$2.6 trillion in sales for the previous year. In terms of profits, the combined earnings of the top 25 oil and gas firms dropped to US$73 billion in the 2017 ranking from US$81 billion in the previous ranking.

The unsurprising leader of the oil firms ranking, ExxonMobil, doubled profits in Q1 2017, beating analyst expectations as higher commodity prices and cost cuts boosted earnings.

In Forbes’ 2017 Global 2000 list of the biggest and most powerful public companies, Exxon is 13th this year, down from the 9th place last year.

Second on the oil and gas list comes Royal Dutch Shell, which climbed from the 6th spot it held in 2016. Last year, Shell completed the takeover of BG Group. This year, Shell is 20th on the Global 2000 list.

The world’s third largest oil company is China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation. The Chinese corporation is also 25th in the Forbes’ global public companies ranking. In 26th place in that ranking is France’s oil major Total SA, which is 4th in the oil and gas companies’ standings. The top five of the oil and gas firms is completed by Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, which is sitting in 40th place on the global public companies list. Related: The Big Data Revolution In Oil Is Accelerating

While U.S. major Exxon is still the undisputed leader of the oil and gas companies, U.S. firm Chevron has fallen out of the top ten in the 2017 rankings, compared to the 3rd place it held in 2016. Chevron also plunged to no. 359 in the Global 2000 ranking, from 28th last year.

Chevron returned to profit in the first quarter this year, driven by higher oil prices, slashed expenditure, and proceeds from asset sales. The corporation continues to slash capex, and has said that it would spend US$19.8 billion this year, down 42 percent on 2015 and at least 15 percent lower than outlays for 2016. The U.S. major also continues to sell non-core assets as it seeks to raise proceeds and optimize its upstream asset portfolio, following the oil price downturn.

Another Big Oil firm, BP, is not among the top 10 largest oil and gas companies on Forbes’ list either. It shares the 359 spot with Chevron in the Global 2000 ranking.

The top 10 of the oil and gas firms in 2017 is completed by Russia’s oil giant Rosneft, PetroChina, India’s Reliance Industries, Russia’s Lukoil, and Thailand’s PTT PCL.

If oil prices stay close to US$50 or trend higher throughout the rest of this year, oil and gas companies may report higher sales and profits next year and climb some places in the ranking of the biggest public firms in the world.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Lee James on May 30 2017 said:
    It's getting harder to eonomically bring in the crude oil, and the politics are none to good either.

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