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Big Oil, Bigger Oil

Big Oil, Bigger Oil

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Published by tbwsm

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Published by: tbwsm on Feb 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Big Oil, bigger oil
Published: February 4 2010 09:29 | Last updated: February 4 2010 09:54
“Big” and “oil” are mentioned so often in the same breath that it is easy to lose perspective.
Motorists and environmentalists never tire of berating the dominant supermajors whose petrolstations and share listings make them the public face of the industry, their favourite target
 being America’s
.If market value were the sole magnet for opprobrium then
s executives could breathe a bit easier because 
 recently overtook it as the
world’s most valuable listed energy company.
But there is “Big Oil” – 
last year, 
andthen there is bigger oil. No oil major is able to affect energy prices on its own and even Exxon
is far smaller than the world’s largest energy company. It is not even close. Saudi Aramco’s
estimated hydrocarbon reserves of 300,000 million barrels of oil equivalent make it 15 times
Exxon’s size. Exxon comes in about 17th place, with the top 10 being entirely state
-owned.PFC Energy, which recently ranked the top 50 publicly listed energy companies in the worldand highlighted Pe
troChina’s ascension, notes that their combined market value was $3,900bn
at year-end. Impressive? Not really, particularly given that much of this float is not in privatehands, including as it does several companies, such as
 andPetroChina itself, with state shareholdings.If one took only the 10 largest, completely state-owned energy companies into account andsimplistically assigned them a notional market value based on their reserves, as is done forExxonMobil, they might be worth $34,000bn. No listed company in any industry has everreached the $1,000bn mark. A decade ago analysts believed
 would befirst, while 
 was seen as having a shot a few years ago, but none got even close. On thecrude measure above, though, Saudi Aramco alone would command a value of $7,000bn, 40

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