(Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)
The past year hasn’t been kind to oil and gas companies, as sliding oil prices have eaten sharply into bottom lines and caused layoffs and bankruptcies across the industry.
However, the titans of energy are still standing tall, even as their businesses are pressured.ExxonMobil XOM -0.03% remains the world’s largest oil company and No. 9 on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of the world’s biggest and most powerful public companies, as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value. While Exxon has slid two spots on our list and recently lost its perfect credit rating for the first time since the Great Depression, it has still managed to maintain its massive dividend program.
China’s state-controlled oil company PetroChina is the second-largest on our list and Chevron CVX -0.16% takes third place. Both companies have dropped considerably, though, falling nine spots and 12 spots on the Global 2000, respectively.
The abundance of cheap oil is the culprit. While a barrel of crude has gone up and down in price this year, recently breaking $50 per barrel, it’s still a far cry from the $100-plus that it fetched in 2014. Earlier this year, oil bottomed in the low $30s.
This has been particularly bad news for countries that depend on oil. State-owned oil companies are getting squeezed and in Russia, for instance, Gazprom (No. 53) has dropped a staggering 26 spots and Rosneft (No. 75) has fallen 16 spots.
The biggest decliner on the list is BP, which used to sit in the top 50 but has since plunged 329 spots. It has shelled out billions to put the 2010 oil spill behind it, sold off assets and cut spending. CEO Bob Dudley has attempted to frame this in a positive light: “Big is not necessarily beautiful.”
There’s certainly more than enough oil to go around. Members of OPEC pumped 31.5 million barrels a day in 2015, according to EIA, and have thus far been unsuccessful in coming to an agreement to slow production.
It’s still a massive business, after all. The top 25 oil and gas companies on the Global 2000 reaped $2.6 trillion in sales during our 12-month measurement period, and pocketed $81 billion in profit.