While oil reserves can be a source of income for many nations, it’s the task of companies, sometimes state-owned, to find and develop oil resources. Here are the world’s top five oil companies by revenue:
ExxonMobil was founded in 1999 when Exxon and Mobil, both derivative companies of J.D. Rockefeller’s original Standard Oil Company, merged to create the world’s fifth biggest oil company by revenue. Although it is an American company with its headquarters in Texas, it has a global presence, and it employs thousands of people around the world. While it has a considerable upstream presence, it also makes petrochemical products, such as the leading lubricants sold through Mobil stockists.
4. Petro China
The world’s fourth-biggest oil company by revenue, Petro China, is based in China with headquarters in Beijing. It was founded in 1999 as the listed arm of China National Petroleum Corporation, which is owned by the Chinese Government.
3. China National Petroleum Corporation
Above Petro China in terms of revenue is its parent company China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which also has its headquarters in Beijing. Since being established in 1988, it has become the third-biggest oil company in the world and the employer of more than a million people. Among its operations, it produces and refines petrochemicals and natural gas. It is also involved in the exploration of oil fields. Its influence stretches beyond China through a global network of branches and strategic investments in other countries. It even holds shares in some of the world’s other oil companies.
Continuing the theme, the world’s second-biggest oil company also comes from China. Like CNPC, Sinopec is also owned by the Chinese state. While it reported an impressive $455.499bn (£352.93bn) in 2015, some emphasise that along with CNPC, the huge revenues may partly be due to the almost complete duopoly the two companies share in China for the wholesale and retail business of oil products. Nevertheless, the company has expanded its asset based through exploratory drilling in Africa and buying shares in other oil companies. It works in the production of petrochemicals and gas and oil explorations, as well as the sale and distribution of petrochemical products.
1. Saudi Aramco
Formerly known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Company but popularly referred to as simply Aramco, Saudi Aramco is the largest oil company in the world. It’s history dates back to the oil shortages of World War 1, but it was officially founded as the California-Arabian Standard Oil Company in 1933. Despite being originally a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company of California, the Saudi Arabian Government gradually increased its “participation interest” in the company, which was then called Arabian American Oil Co. or Aramco for short. By 1976, it owned 100% of the company, which was later reestablished as the Saudi Arabian Oil Company following a royal decree in 1988.
Saudi Aramco is thought to hold the largest oil reserves of any oil company, and it is also the world’s biggest producer of oil. Despite being established to develop the vast oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, it also has a global exploration and distribution presence.