After suffering in recent years from one mishap after another, Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell has overtaken its cross-London rival BP PLC as Europe’s biggest oil company. Shell boasted a market capitalization of 128.33 billion pounds ($244.61 billion) at Wednesday’s close in London, based on the number of shares in issue at the end of June. BP, meanwhile, ended the day with a market value of 123.96 billion pounds ($236.28 billion).
The turnabout comes as BP has eclipsed Shell as Big Oil’s bad boy. Until recently, BP and Chief Executive John Browne were vaunted as exemplars of good management. But the company has smarted from a string of operational disasters in North America.
The latest black eye for BP was its surprise shutdown of the biggest U.S. oil field, Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, which is operated by the energy titan.