Ed Crooks The Platts Top 250 energy companies: big oil still on top

The Platts Top 250 ranking of the world’s leading energy companies for 2009, released today, holds few surprises in the top 10 – ExxonMobil at number one, inevitably – but does have a lot of intriguing detail.

It is still the big international oil groups that dominate. Chevron edging out Royal Dutch Shell for second place (giving the US a one-two at the top of the chart) and BP nudging ahead of Total for fourth place, symbolising its recovery under Tony Hayward, are the most notable shifts at the top since the 2008 ranking.

Other trends are also interesting. Gazprom hangs on to a top ten spot, as does Eni, in spite of the problems those companies have suffered from the fall in gas demand. RWE of Germany is the top utility, pulling ahead of EDF which previously held that spot. Petrobras is up to number six, as the scale of its discoveries in Brazil’s deep-water sub-salt region begin to become apparent. (The rankings are based on 2008 numbers.)

Although the 2010 rankings will doubtless look different again, it is striking actually how little change there is in the corporate landscape, given the upheavals in the world economy and the energy landscape of the past two years. Displacing the corporate behemoths that now rule the industry does not look likely to be achievable the same way that Microsoft and Intel toppled IBM, for example, or that Google in turn toppled Microsoft.

The top 20 in full:

1. ExxonMobil Corp
2. Chevron Corp
3. Royal Dutch Shell
4. BP
5. Total SA
6. Petrobras Brasileiro
7. Rosneft Oil
8. Gazprom Oao
9. Petrochina Co
10. ENI SpA
11. StatoilHydro
13. TNK-BP
14. RWE AG
15. Occidental Petroleum
16. EnCana Corp
17. BG Group plc
18. Electricite de France
19. Enel SpA
20. Marathon Oil