The new oil majors

March 12, 2007

This is just a complement to my recent post on the oil industry and global politics. The FT published today a new ranking of the world’s biggest oil majors entitled “The new seven sisters: oil and gas giants that dwarf the west’s top producers”. While after 1945, the oil world was dominated by seven Western companies called the “seven sisters”, today, these have been overtaken in size and revenue by majors coming from emerging markets. The ranking goes thus:

1) Saudi Aramco – in charge of 25% of the world’s oil reserves

2) Gazprom – Russia

3) CNPC/Petro China

4) NIOC – Iran

5) PDVSA – Venezuela

6) Petrobas – Brazil

7) Petronas – Malaysia

Carola Hoyos, Energy Editor of the FT and author of the article published today, writes:

Overwhelmingly state-owned, they control almost one-third of the world’s oil and gas production and more than one-third of its total oil and gas reserves. In contrast, the old seven sisters – which shrank to four in the industry consolidation of the 1990s – produce about 10 per cent of the world’s oil and gas and hold just 3 per cent of reserves. Even so, their integrated status – which means they sell not only oil and gas, but also gasoline, diesel and petrochemicals – push their revenues notably higher than those of the newcomers.

Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, an industry consultancy, says: “The reason the original seven sisters were so important was that they were the rule makers; they controlled the industry and the markets. Now, these new seven sisters are the rule makers and the international oil companies are the rule takers.”

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2 Responses to “The new oil majors”


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