The importance of national oil companies (NOCs) in the global oil and gas industry is underlined by the fact that they control over 75% of the global oil and gas reserves. With energy demand expected to grow by more than 50% by 2030, NOCs are expected to play an increasingly important role in supplying the world’s oil and gas needs.

NOCs are comfortably positioned for steady growth in the future years in comparison with the international oil companies (IOCs). These companies are supported by the huge domestic reserves and strong backing of the national government. Even the resource seeking NOCs are better positioned than the IOCs as they have access to finances through state governments and are increasingly becoming a prefered partner by the resource-rich NOCs.

In the coming years, the NOCs are expected to lead investments in the global oil and gas sector. The major NOCs plan to invest over $540bn in the next five years in the oil and gas sector. In addition it is expected that the NOCs will spend over $260bn in 2009 as capital expenditure.

Between 2009 and 2015, the oil and gas industry will witness the growth of national oil companies, with these companies being strong competition to the established international players. The national oil companies’ role in the international market will steadily increase, driven by the expansion strategies of the NOCs and the long-term goal of the state governments.

In recent years, high crude oil prices coupled with a re-emergence of resource nationalisation has fuelled the growth of NOCs. The national governments, motivated by transferring a higher share of revenues generated from domestic oil and gas reserves, back into the country, prefer to promote the related national oil company’s dominance over the energy sector. The national oil companies too are becoming more and more growth oriented. These companies already dominate the domestic industry and are now looking to establish themselves as prominent players in the global energy market. However even today, the national oil companies are driven by the domestic country’s long-term needs and objectives.

The table below details the rankings of the 15 major national oil companies in terms of both crude and natural gas reserves and production.

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Major National Oil Companies, Rank in Oil and Gas Reserves and Production, 2008
  Total Oil And Gas Reserves Total Oil And Gas Production Crude Oil Reserves Crude Oil Production Natural Gas Reserves Natural Gas Production
NIOC 1 3 3 2 2 2
Saudi Aramco 2 1 1 1 4 5
OAO Gazprom 3 2 11 25 1 1
PDVSA 4 4 2 3 7 18
Qatar Petroleum 5 20 9 23 3 6
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company 6 19 6 15 5 19
Iraq National Oil Company 7 15 4 8 10 54
Kuwait Oil Company 8 10 5 6 29 34
NNPC 9 25 8 20 6 45
National Oil Corporation, Libya 10 24 7 19 13 42
Sonatrach 11 11 14 16 8 8
China National Petroleum Corporation 12 7 10 5 11 9
Petroliam Nasional Berhad 13 21 20 27 9 10
Pemex 18 5 15 4 28 14
Petrobras 20 17 19 12 30 25
Source: GlobalData/Energy eTrack Company Benchmarking Tool:
The Changing Face of National Oil Companies (NOCs): NOC and State Strategies Driving Internationalisation

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