Update: Take a look at the highest-earning companies in 2021.

Top Ten Biggest Oil and Gas Companies

Global oil and gas majors are experiencing unprecedented disruption due to historic crude oil price slump and collapse in global demand caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Offshore Technology lists the top ten oil and gas companies in 2020, based on 2019 revenues. Chinese companies continue to dominate the industry, with Sinopec topping the list, followed by China National Petroleum Corp and PetroChina.

Biggest oil and gas companies: Top ten by revenue

1. China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation – $424bn

2. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) – $396bn

3. PetroChina – $360bn

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4. Royal Dutch Shell – $345bn

5. Saudi Arabian Oil – $330bn

6. BP – $278bn

7. Exxon Mobil – $265bn

8. Total – $200bn

9. Chevron Corporation – $146.5bn

10. Rosneft Oil Corporation – $140bn

1. China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation – $424bn

Top ten oil and gas companies
Sinopec’s revenues increased by 2.6% in 2019 over 2018. Image courtesy of WhisperToMe.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) reported a 2.6% year on year (YoY) increase in revenue despite fluctuations in oil prices. Increase in sales volumes of natural gas (11.9% increase), gasoline (4.7%), diesel (2.9%), kerosene (4.9%), monomer and polymer (26%), synthetic rubber (14.9%), and chemical fertiliser (16.4%) was subdued by the decrease in prices of petroleum and chemical products.

The marketing and distribution segment accounted for 48.2% of the total revenues while the refining segment accounted for 41.2%. The rise in natural gas prices further helped in increasing the revenues of the exploration and production segment by 5.2%.

Major projects completed during the year included the mechanical completion of the Zhongke integrated refining and petrochemical project and commissioning of the Hainan Refining and Chemical expansion project and the first phase of E-An-Cang gas pipeline project.

The COVID-19 pandemic deeply impacted the revenues of Sinopec during the first half of 2020, with revenues declining by 31% to RMB1.03tn ($148.84bn) from RMB1.49tn ($215.31bn) in the first half of 2019. The company witnessed a sharp decline in earnings from sales of crude oil, natural gas and other upstream products (11.9% YoY), diesel, kerosene and gasoline (27.5%), and chemical products (33.8%). The decline in oil and natural gas prices and sales volumes and a drop in chemical, refined oil and petroleum product prices were some of the major factors that impacted the revenues.

Sinopec is an integrated energy and chemical company involved in upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Incorporated in 1998, it operates oil exploration and production, refining and sales, and chemical businesses.

2. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) – $396bn

Top ten oil and gas companies in 2020
CNPC reported a 14.4% decline in Q1 2020 revenues.

State-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) reported $396bn in revenue in 2019, a moderate increase of 1.2% compared to 2018.

In 2019, the company launched a multi-faceted research and development (R&D) system and made progress in its R&D and technology initiatives covering the areas of exploration and production, oilfield services, refining and petrochemicals. It made discoveries in Junggar, Ordos, Tarim and Sichuan basins in China and increased oil production and gas production by 2.64% and 8.89%, respectively.

CNPC’s revenues in the first quarter of 2020 fell 14.4% YoY to RMB509.1bn ($72.71bn), due to a slump in international oil prices and decline in market demand following the COVID-19 outbreak. The company decided to cut its 2020 spending and focus on improved coordination of supply chain and greater market reforms.

CNPC operates 26 refineries with a combined crude processing capacity of 152 million tonnes per year (Mtpa) and an oil and gas pipeline infrastructure spanning 85,582km.

3. PetroChina – $360bn

top ten oil and gas companies
PetroChina’s refined oil product output decreased by 8.2% in H1 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Image courtesy of PetroChina Company Limited.

PetroChina’s revenues rose by 6% YoY, which was majorly contributed to the increase in the sales volume of oil and gas products, which offset the reduced prices of oil and gas products. The marketing segment of the company accounted for 73.5% of its revenues.

Key projects that commenced operations in 2019 include the Chad Project Phase 2.2 and Halfaya Project Phase III in Iraq, while the renovation of Huabei petrochemical refinery was also completed during the year.

PetroChina reported a 22.3% decrease in revenues to RMB929.04bn ($134.74bn) in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, due to the contraction in demand for oil and gas and chemical products caused by the pandemic and a decrease in crude oil prices.

The company controlled losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the oil market situation through strategic measures and cost-cutting initiatives. The measures include a 23% reduction in capital expenditure for 2020, as well as an 8.2% decrease in the output of refined oil products and a 9.5% increase in the production of chemical products in the first half of 2020 in response to the market situation.

PetroChina is involved in the exploration, production and marketing of crude oil and natural gas, as well as refining, transportation, storage and marketing of crude oil and oil products. It also markets petrochemical products and derivative chemicals.

4. Royal Dutch Shell – $345bn

Biggest oil and gas firms
Shell achieved production start-ups at several fields in 2019, including the Appomattox field. Image courtesy of Photographic Services, Shell International Limited.

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) reported an 11% YoY decline in revenues owing to fluctuations in oil prices. The downstream segment accounted for the majority (85%) of the company’s revenues.

Major milestones included the first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Prelude floating LNG facility and start-up of the modular liquefaction system at Elba Island in Georgia, US, and first production from two floating, production, storage and offloading vessels at Lula North project, and Appomattox field.

The company reported revenues of $44.71bn in the third quarter of 2020, a 50% decrease over Q3 2019. In early 2020, it announced a reduction of $5bn in capital expenditure for the year to $20bn or lower and reduction in operating costs by $3bn to $4bn to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shell is a global energy and petrochemical company engaged in the exploration, production, refining and marketing of oil and natural gas, and the manufacturing and marketing of chemical products. Established in 1907, the company is headquartered in The Hague,  Netherlands.

5. Saudi Arabian Oil – $330bn

biggest oil and gas firms
Saudi Aramco has upstream operations and a strong downstream network. Image courtesy of Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

Saudi Arabian Oil (Saudi Aramco) posted a 7.42% YoY decline in revenues, mainly due to a decline in crude oil prices and domestic energy demand. The upstream segment’s share of the total revenues was approximately 64.14%, while the downstream segment accounted for the remaining 35.73%.

The company concluded the acquisition of a 70% interest in Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) for $69.1bn. The transaction was an important step towards the integration of the company’s upstream and downstream businesses.

In addition, Saudi Aramco acquired a 17% interest in Hyundai Oilbank, 50% interest in Shell Saudi Arabia Refining, 50% interest in ARLANXEO Holding and 100% interest in Motiva Chemicals.

Saudi Aramco reported a 56.76% decline in revenues to $37.16bn in the second quarter of 2020 compared to Q2 2019, due to the decline in crude oil prices and reduced refining and chemicals margins. The Upstream business segment’s revenues fell to SAR75.34bn ($20.08bn), a 65.82% decline when compared with Q2 2019 while the downstream segment’s revenues plunged by 62.2% to SAR63.68bn ($16.97bn). The company’s capital expenditure for 2020 is anticipated to be close to the lower end of the $25bn-$30bn range, compared with $32.8bn in 2019.

The state-owned energy and chemicals major has expertise in upstream operations and has a strong downstream network.

6. BP – $278bn

Top ten oil and gas companies based on 2019 revenues
In October 2020, BP teamed up with Shell, Total, Eni, Equinor, and National Grid to develop offshore carbon dioxide infrastructure in the UK North Sea. Image courtesy of BP p.l.c.

British Petroleum’s (BP) revenues declined by 6.81% in 2019, due to a decline in crude oil and natural gas prices coupled with slower global consumption. Approximately 90.12% of the company’s revenues came from the downstream segment.

Key investment decisions made in 2019 included the installation of a new offshore platform and facilities in the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli field in Azerbaijan, four subsea well tiebacks at the Platina field in Angola, the third phase of Block KG D6 gas development in India, Thunder Horse south expansion phase two and further investment in Block 12 in Angola.

Major upstream projects that came online in 2019 included Giza and Fayoum in Egypt, Culzean and Alligin in the UK North Sea, and Constellation in the US Gulf of Mexico.

The company’s revenues in the third quarter stood at $44.25bn, a 35.2% decrease when compared to the same period in the previous year. BP expects the recovery in oil demand to continue, while maintenance activities will result in reduced production in Q4 2020. The outlook for Q4 envisions continued pressure on refining margins and lower marketing volumes due to COVID-19. Measures introduced by the company to deal with the pandemic situation include the injection of $32bn in liquidity during Q1 2020, along with a 25% reduction in 2020 capital spending to $12bn.

BP Group is an international energy business with operations in 79 countries across Europe, North and South America, Australasia, Asia and Africa.

7. Exxon Mobil – $265bn

Top ten oil and gas companies
Exxon Mobil is a multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. Image courtesy of Katherine Welles/Shutterstock.

Exxon Mobil reported an 8.7% YoY decline in 2019 revenues, primarily due to a sharp drop in commodity prices and margins. Its earnings from oil and gas during the period fell to $59.53bn, a 6.74% decrease compared with 2018.

Key milestones reached in the upstream segment in 2019 included the commissioning of the Liza Phase one development in Guyana. In the downstream segment, Beaumont hydrofiner, Antwerp coker and Rotterdam hydrocracker projects were commissioned. Construction of the Golden Pass export project in Sabine Pass in Texas also started in 2019.

Exxon Mobil earned $32.6bn in revenue in the second quarter of 2020, a 52.8% decline versus the same period in 2019, due to global oversupply and lower demand caused by COVID-19. The company’s oil-equivalent output fell 7% YoY, with liquids and natural gas production declining 3% and 12%, respectively, in response to the COVID-19 related demand impacts. ExxonMobil is on track to meet or exceed its planned targets of 30% capital expenditure reduction for 2020 from $33bn to $23bn and cash expenditure reduction by 15% to deal with the uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headquartered in the US, Exxon Mobil is a publicly traded energy and chemical firm marketing fuels and lubricants under four brands, namely Esso, Exxon, Mobil and ExxonMobil Chemical.

8. Total – $200bn

biggest oil and gas companies
Total witnessed a 52.11% fall in revenues from the marketing and services segment in Q2 2020. Image courtesy of Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock.

Total posted a 4.32% YoY decline in revenues, attributed to a drop in global oil prices and gas prices in Europe. The refining and chemicals division accounted for the majority of the company’s revenues at 66.36%.

Major projects that were commissioned during the year include Yamal LNG in Russia, Ichthys in Australia, Egina in Nigeria, Kaombo in Angola, Culzean in the UK, and Johan Sverdrup in Norway.

Total completed key acquisitions in 2019, including Anadarko’s interest in Mozambique LNG, 10% interest in Arctic LNG 2 in Russia, and Chevron’s interest in Danish Underground Consortium in Denmark.

A 30% slump in petroleum products demand and a 57% decline in Brent oil prices during the second quarter among other factors resulted in a 52.29% decline in Total’s Q2 2020 revenues over Q2 2019. Revenues from the marketing and services segment fell by 52.11%, refining and chemicals division fell by 60.32%, and exploration and production division declined by 58.52%. The company’s European retail networks returned to 90% of pre-COVID levels in June 2020, while the gas and electricity marketing business rebounded to 97%.

Total is targeting a reduction in 2020 capital expenditure by 25% to $14bn compared with the previously announced $18bn and operational cost reduction of $1bn. Full-year production in 2020 is expected to be in the range of 2.9Mboe/d to 2.95Mboe/d.

The French multinational company is a producer and supplier of oil, natural gas and low-carbon electricity, with 100,000 employees in more than 130 countries.

9. Chevron Corporation – $146.5bn

top ten oil and gas firms in 2020
Chevron acquired Noble Energy in a $4.1bn transaction in October 2020. Image courtesy of Buhler013.

Chevron Corporation (Chevron) posted an 11.91% YoY decline in revenues due to lower prices of refined products, crude oil and natural gas. The company’s international downstream segment accounted for more than 77% of the revenues although the US upstream business posted a loss of $5.09bn.

The Chevron’s upstream segment witnessed the completion of major transactions during the year, including the divestment of interests in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in Azerbaijan, Frade field in Brazil, Malampaya field in Philippines, Rosebank field in the UK and sale of upstream interests in Denmark and UK. Acquisitions completed during the year included the Pasadena refinery in the US and a network of terminals and service stations in Australia.

In October 2020, the firm closed the $4.1bn acquisition of Noble Energy to bolster its upstream portfolio. The company’s revenues declined by 55.55% to $16bn in Q2 2020 compared with Q2 2019, while losses were pegged at $8.3bn, driven by the reduced demand and commodity prices caused by the pandemic.

Upstream production during the period was 2.99 million barrels a day, a 3% drop compared with a year ago due to low prices and asset sales. The company reduced its 2020 capital expenditure guidance by $2bn to $14bn and is on course to achieve the target.

Chevron is engaged in the exploration and production, transportation, power generation, supply and trading, as well as downstream products manufacturing and retailing.

10. Rosneft Oil Corporation – $140bn

biggest oil and gas firms
Rosneft postponed economically less viable projects to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Image courtesy of ROSNEFT.

Rosneft Oil Corporation (Rosneft) posted a 5.31% YoY increase in revenues. The refining and distribution segment accounted for more than 90% of the revenues.

A total of 2,900 new onshore hydrocarbons wells were commissioned during the year in addition to the continued development of the Sakhalin-1 project. Several milestones were achieved by the gas production segment, including the construction of the company’s largest gas project – Rospan, facilities at Kharampurskoye field and continued development of the Beregovoy field. New units were also commissioned at the Novokuibyshevsk refinery, Tuapse, Syzran refinery and Yaroslavl refinery.

Rosneft also completed the acquisition of 40.5% interest in Sibintek, an IT services provider, for $13.58m increasing its total interest to 98.5%. It also acquired Petersburg Fuel Company to expand its retail business.

In H1 2020, Rosneft reported a 33.4% decline in revenues compared with H1 2019, mainly attributed to the decline in crude oil prices and lower export volumes of crude oil due to compliance with the agreement reached by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC countries.

In May 2020, the company announced a 20% reduction in capital expenditure in addition to other measures such as a reduction in maintenance costs and the postponement of economically less viable projects. It also announced plans to reduce new project developments and high-risk long-term projects while maintaining investment in high-margin projects.

Rosneft is controlled by the Russian Government through Rosneftegaz, a 100% state-owned holding company. It has expertise in exploration, production, transportation, and sale of petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products.