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Shell and BP slide down the ranks of top 50 oil companies

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State-Owned Oil Companies Move Up in the Ranks

December 01, 2008 

By Michael Kanellos

The national league is beating the private sector in oil.

State-owned oil companies now comprise 27 of the top 50 oil companies, according to a survey from Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. Not only that, the national companies are moving up in the ranks. Russia’s Rosneft is now ranked 16th in the world, up from 24 last year. China’s CNPC, meanwhile, passed up BP (BP) and Shell (RDS.A). CNPC is now ranked fifth on the list. ExxonMobil (XON), ranked third, is the only private firm in the top five, right below NIOC of Iran and PDV of Venezuela.

Three national companies also joined the list, which is determined by six criteria including crude reserves, sales, natural gas reserves and investments in downstream technologies. The new members are Uzbekneftgas (Uzbekistan), CNOOC (China) and Kazmunaigas (Kazakhstan.)

What’s that mean? For one thing, it means slightly more control over the supply of fossil fuels by regimes that, uhhh, sometimes aren’t exactly democracy friendly.

Saudi Arabia’s Aramco held its number one ranking. Only nine U.S. firms are on the list.

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