Many of the world’s top energy companies trace their roots to the oil production company Standard Oil, founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1870. However, with the rising energy demand and the urgent need to address climate change, energy companies in the 21st century have more diverse businesses. Besides traditional sources, they are increasingly focusing on renewables, aiming to achieve net zero by 2050.

By looking at the key dates, revenues, and growth strategies of the top companies, we can understand the energy industry better. As a guide for business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs, our experts have outlined the top companies in the sector by market capitalization.

The World’s Top Energy Companies

The oil and gas industry market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% by 2028, and renewable energies at 8.50% by 2032. Focusing on both traditional and renewable sources, the world’s largest energy companies all hold market caps of over $100 billion.

Of the top 10, one is based in Saudi Arabia, four in the USA, two in China, two in the UK, and one in France. Here are the complete details

1. Saudi Aramco – $1.955 trillion

Saudi Aramco is not only the world’s largest energy company but also the fifth biggest company overall by market cap, ranking only behind the technology giants Microsoft, Apple, NVIDIA, and Google. The company’s roots go back to 1933, when Saudi Arabia and the Standard Oil Company of California (SOCAL) signed a Concession Agreement. Massive amounts of crude oil were being discovered regularly at a time when the world was slowly starting to realize how important the resource would soon be.

The two companies jumped on the opportunity and formed a subsidiary, California Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC), which started drilling in the Saudi desert for oil. By the 1940s, the company changed its name to Aramco, Arabian American Oil Company.

In 1971, Aramco shipped one billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products per year for the first time. Two years later, the Saudi government bought a 25% interest in Aramco, gradually increasing its share to 100% over the years. After the Saudis finally had complete control over the company, it was renamed again to Saudi Aramco in 1988 with the government as its principal shareholder.

Holding over 90% of the company’s shares, Saudi Arabia is still the biggest shareholder of Saudi Aramco.

The company’s global expansion began in the 1990s, purchasing a 35% interest in SsangYong Oil Refining Company of South Korea, a 40% interest in Petron Corporation of the Philippines (which it sold in 2008), and 50% interest in Motor Oil (Hellas) Corinth Refineries S.A of Greece (which it sold in 2005).

Starting from the 2000s, Saudi Aramco diversified from oil and gas, investing in efficient production, research and development centers, and hydrocarbon resources. In the 2023 fiscal year, it made $495.033 billion in revenue, an 18.1% decrease year-over-year due to crude oil price fluctuations.

Because of the company’s massive investments in infrastructure, it now produces about 12 million barrels of crude oil every single day. It tried to raise output by another 1 million barrels per day in recent years but was rebuffed by the Saudi government, likely to keep supply lower and prices higher.

Company Name Saudi Aramco
Headquarters Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Market Cap $1.955 trillion
Founding Date 1933
Employee Count Over 70,000

2. ExxonMobil – $475.02 billion

An oil and natural gas company, ExxonMobil dates back to the late 1870s when John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company. ExxonMobil, as it is known today, was formed in 1999, as a result of the merger between Exxon and Mobil. At the time of the merger, Exxon was the largest and Mobil was the second-largest oil company in the US.

By joining forces, Exxon and Mobil created the country’s biggest energy company, which also ranks in the top 20 biggest companies by market cap in the world. The combined company has been involved in many projects and joint ventures, such as developing the North Field offshore LNG field in Qatar, the largest non-associated gas field in the world.

ExxonMobil reported a revenue of $334.697 billion in 2023, with its energy products segment making up $268.4 billion of its earnings. This segment includes oil, gas, gasoline, diesel, and renewable energy.

Graph showing Exxon Mobil's 2023 revenue segments in Product Solutions, with Energy Products as the main revenue generator, ranking ahead of Chemical Products and Specialty Products

Company Name ExxonMobil
Headquarters Houston, Texas, United States
Market Cap $475.02 billion
Founding Date 1879
Employee Count Over 60,000

3. Chevron – $298.44 billion

Similar to Exxon Mobil, Chevron is related to Standard Oil Company. In 1926, Standard Oil Company acquired Pacific Oil Company and created a new business called Standard Oil Co. of California, or SOCAL. Besides searching for oil in Saudi Arabia, SOCAL also formed strategic partnerships with other companies, such as combining its Middle Eastern production rights with Texaco’s Asian and African marketing networks.

One of the biggest years in SOCAL’s history was 1984 when it acquired Gulf Oil Corporation for $13.2 billion in cash. The largest merger in corporate history at the time, this deal meant that SOCAL doubled its worldwide proved oil and gas reserves. The merged company took a new name: Chevron Corporation, a brand SOCAL had created to market its gasoline products in 1945.

Chevron continued its strategic moves. In 2001, it merged with Texaco, and in 2005, it acquired natural gas company Uncoal Corporation. Upstream is one of Chevron’s most profitable revenue segments, as it has been focusing on long-term upstream growth since 2012. In 2023, the company reported a total revenue of $196.9 billion.

Chevron, like most fossil fuel giants, has had multiple major controversies over the years. Its worst offense was when it allegedly spilled 16 million gallons of crude oil and 18 million gallons of polluted water into the Amazon between 1964 and 1990, destroying the ancestral homeland of over 30,000 Ecuadorians. The Ecuadorians, many of whom had contracted cancer and other illnesses traced to the spill, decided to launch a class action lawsuit against him, led by the brilliant lawyer Steven Donziger. After 18 years of incredibly hard work, Donziger secured a massive $9.5 billion win for the plaintiffs.

Instead of paying the restitution it owed the Ecuadorians, Chevron halted all operations in Ecuador and fled the country to avoid paying a dime. It even launched an alleged smear campaign against Donziger with hundreds of lawyers. They accused him of contempt of court for not turning over his laptop and computer, which he argued had priveliged information protected under attorney-client privilege. Donziger was put on house arrest for nearly 1,000 days for the crime, which is absolutely unprecedented.

Company Name Chevron
Headquarters San Ramon, California, United States
Market Cap $298.44 billion
Founding Date 1879
Employee Count Over 45,000

4. PetroChina – $247.26 billion

PetroChina is a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), one of the largest state-owned companies in China. It was incorporated as a joint stock limited company in 1999 due to corporate restructuring in CNPC. In 2002, PetroChina launched PetroChina International for international trading of crude oil, petrochemical products, and natural gas.

Although its market capitalization fell after the move, in 2007, PetroChina became the first company in the world to reach a $1 trillion market value.

In 2011, PetroChina’s London firm, PetroChina International London started a joint venture with INEOS Group to form Petroineos, an integrated refining and energy trading company run by Manchester United owner Jim Ratcliffe. Three years later, PetroChina replaced ExxonMobil in the West Qurna 1 oilfield in Iraq, becoming the lead contractor of the project.

The company’s 2023 revenue was $435.30 billion.

Company Name PetroChina
Headquarters Beijing, China
Market Cap $247.26 billion
Founding Date 1999
Employee Count Over 300,000

5. Shell – $225.77 billion

In the 1830s, London merchant Marcus Samuel started importing and selling oriental seashells. When his sons took over the company, they decided to venture into the oil exploration and transportation business. To compete with Standard Oil Company, they created a distinct brand for Shell, painting their cans bright red.

In 1907, Shell merged with Royal Dutch, which is considered the start of the Shell we know today.

Shell billboard

Shell expanded by exploring and producing in Russia, Romania, Venezuela, Mexico, and the US. In 1947, it drilled the first commercially viable offshore field in the Gulf of Mexico.

Throughout its history, Shell had to adapt to various changes. For example, it is considered one of the few companies that anticipated the 1973 oil crisis thanks to the forecasting tool it introduced in 1965. Similarly, in the 1980s, the company had to focus on lowering project costs amidst the drop in oil prices.

In 2012, Shell completed Pearl GTL in Qatar, which became the world’s largest source of gas-to-liquid products. Five years later, Shell Prelude, the biggest floating liquefied natural gas facility worldwide, sailed from South Korea to Western Australia.

Besides the oil and gas industry, Shell has been present in the New Energies industry since 2016, focusing on wind, solar, and renewable energy sources. In 2023, the company generated a revenue of $316.62 billion.

Company Name Shell
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Market Cap $225.77 billion
Founding Date 1907
Employee Count Over 100,000

6. TotalEnergies – $168.50 billion

France may not be the first country you think in the world of energy companies but it plays a major role in the industry.

After World War I, France realized it was dependent on British and American oil and gas companies, which led the country to create “Compagnie française des pétroles” or the French Petroleum Company. In 1924, the French Petroleum Company bought Germany’s shares in the Turkish Petroleum Company, and in 1927, it found oil in Iraq.

In 1954, the company changed its name to Total, an easy-to-pronounce word in line with its aim to expand globally.

Total acquired Petrofina in 1999 and Elf Aquitaine in 2000 to create the TotalFinaElf Group. The new company reached a production of 2.1 million barrels per day, meaning it was the world’s fourth-largest hydrocarbon producer. In the 2010s, Total’s investments focused on renewable energy, acquiring a 60% stake in the solar panel company Sunpower, a 23% stake in Eren Renewable Energy, and 100% in high-tech battery company Saft Groupe.

To symbolize its shift in the energy transition, Total rebranded as TotalEnergies in 2021, embracing its identity as a multi-energy company. Since the rebrand, the company has been increasing its installed and planned renewables capacity, reaching 22.4 gigawatts in 2023.

Graph showing TotalEnergies' installed and pipeline renewable capacity

In 2023, TotalEnergies generated $228.13 in revenue.

Company Name TotalEnergies
Headquarters Courbevoie, France
Market Cap $168.50 billion
Founding Date 1924
Employee Count Over 100,000

7. ConocoPhillips – $154.29 billion

Phillips Petroleum Company was founded in 1917. It was the first company to market propane for home heating and cooking. In 1929, Marland Oil Company merged with Continental Oil and Transportation Co., forming the Continental Oil Company, also known as Conoco.

Phillips and Conoco merged in 2002, creating ConocoPhillips. Shortly after the merger, the company announced international projects, including the Surmont Oil Sands Project in Canada, and the first oil offshore project in Vietnam.

In 2012, ConocoPhillips repositioned, spinning off its downstream business to focus on upstream. Phillips 66 was created out of ConocoPhillips’ downstream business, which became one of the largest energy companies in the US.

ConocoPhillips generated $56.14 billion in 2023 from the production and marketing of crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, natural gas liquids, and liquefied natural gas around the world.

Company Name ConocoPhillips
Headquarters Houston, Texas, United States
Market Cap $154.29 billion
Founding Date 1917
Employee Count Over 9,000

8. NextEra Energy – $130.80 billion

NextEra Energy dates back to 1925, when The Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) was founded. When it began, FPL operated various businesses, including power plants, water facilities, gas plants, and ice companies. In 1997, FPL launched FPL Energy, and a year later, it shifted toward the wind energy business with Vansycle Ridge Wind Farm coming online.

The Florida Power & Light Company became an international energy company over the years, so it decided to adopt a more global name. In 2009, it officially changed its name to NextEra Energy. In the same year, NextEra became the largest producer of wind and solar power in the US. By 2011, the company built the world’s first hybrid solar facility.

In 2023, NextEra made $28.11 billion in revenue, which represented a 34% increase compared to the previous year.

Graph showing the revenue of NextEra Energy between 2006 and 2023

Company Name NextEra Energy
Headquarters Juno Beach, Florida, United States
Market Cap $130.80 billion
Founding Date 1925
Employee Count Over 14,000

9. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) – $126.17 billion

Founded in 1982, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or CNOOC, is the largest offshore oil and gas producer in China. Its main business operations are oil and gas exploration, professional technical services, refining product sales and fertilizers, power generation, and offshore wind power.

CNOOC’s publicly-listed subsidiary, CNOOC Limited, was incorporated in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1999. Three years later, CNOOC made its biggest investment outside China by buying oil fields in Indonesia for $585 million.

In 2012, CNOOC agreed to buy Canadian energy company Nexen for $15.1 billion, which was China’s largest overseas acquisition at the time. As of 2024, CNOOC is only listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as it was removed from the New York Stock Exchange in 2021 due to national security concerns.

CNOOC made $65.48 billion in 2023, which was the year China surpassed Europe as the world’s largest offshore wind provider. In 2024, CNOOC announced that it discovered a hundred-million-ton oilfield in the South China Sea.

Company Name CNOOC
Headquarters Beijing, China
Market Cap $126.17 billion
Founding Date 1982
Employee Count Over 18,000

10. BP – $108.57 billion

British Petroleum (BP) started in 1908, when William D’Arcy discovered oil in Persia. With his discovery, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was formed. When Persia became Iran and nationalized its oil industry, APOC’s name was changed to British Petroleum Company.

In the 80s, BP expanded its presence in the United States by buying Standard Oil shares. After a series of acquisitions, BP and Amoco announced a merger in 1999. This led to further global expansion, adding ARCO, Castrol, and Aral to BP’s portfolio.

BP launched BP Alternative Energy in 2005, which became a part of its gas and low carbon energy business. Along with gas and low carbon energy, BP also runs production and operations and customers and products segments.

Responsibility for the world’s largest oil spill – the Deepwater Horizon incident that spilled over 134 million gallons of crude oil in the Mexican Gulf in 2010 according to NOAA – lay with BP. BP and other workers had ignored vital warning signs and the oil company had made decisions to speed up vital work that led to an explosion. The company lost $40 billion in costs and saw its market cap cut by around 25% due to the disaster.

The company generated a revenue of $210.1 billion in 2023.

Company Name BP
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Market Cap $108.57 billion
Founding Date 1908
Employee Count Over 60,000

Top 10 Energy Companies in the USA

Although 36% of the US primary energy consumption is from petroleum products and 33% from natural gas, renewable energy reached an all-time high in 2022, making up 13% of the total energy consumption.

Pie chart showing the primary energy consumption by energy source in 2022 in the US

For the largest US companies, increasing investments in renewables is a growing priority. Out of the world’s top 10 energy companies, four are US-based companies.

Here are the country’s top energy companies by market capitalization:

  1. ExxonMobil – $475.02 billion: The largest non-government-owned company in the energy sector.
  2. Chevron – $298.44 billion: Investing in the Advanced Clean Energy Storage Project to convert renewable energy into hydrogen as a part of lower carbon energy goals.
  3. ConocoPhillips – $154.29 billion: The world’s largest independent exploration and production (E&P) company based on production and proved reserves.
  4. NextEra Energy – $130.80 billion: Leading the 30-by-30 project to install over 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030, aiming to make the state a world leader in solar energy.
  5. Marathon Petroleum – $77.92 billion: Operating the largest refining system in the US, with a daily capacity of nearly 2.9 million barrels of crude oil.
  6. EOG Resources – $77.73 billion: Focused on being one of the lowest cost, highest return, and lowest carbon emissions producers in the industry.
  7. Schlumberger – $77.57 billion: Launched the industry’s first multiclient wide-azimuth survey offshore Mexico in 2015.
  8. Southern Company – $76.42 billion: The largest wholesale provider in the Southeast.
  9. Duke Energy – $74.15 billion: Operating the largest battery system in North Carolina.
  10. Phillips 66 – $73.02 billion: Investing in the Rodeo Renewed Project, aiming to convert its San Francisco Refinery into a renewable fuels facility to lower carbon footprint.

Learning From the Top Energy Companies in the World

“The era of easy oil is over,” said former Chevron CEO David J. O’Reilly. Although most of the biggest energy companies started by discovering oil in the early 1900s, today, they are diversifying their portfolios, and balancing traditional fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.

In response to climate change, all of the world’s top companies announced their intentions to become net-zero companies by 2050. Acting in the broader interest and getting into emerging markets early are crucial lessons we can learn when we look at how these energy companies are staying profitable and relevant.

Strategic mergers and acquisitions played a big role in the growth of several energy companies. As a result of Conoco and Phillips’ 2002 merger, ConocoPhillips became the third-largest public energy company in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world at the time. Similarly, BP expanded with the Amoco merger, combining its strong exploration skills with Amoco’s marketing skills.

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