Top 6 Biggest State-Owned Oil Companies in the World
Several major oil companies are owned by their respective governments, allowing them to control a valuable commodity. The largest state-owned oil company is Saudi Aramco, estimated to be worth $2 trillion. Other examples of such oil companies include Kuwait Petroleum, China National Petroleum, and Venezuela's PDVSA. Sinopec, previously known as China Petroleum and Chemical, is not solely controlled by the government. Today, it has shares listed for trading in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and the New York Stock Exchange.
Nations establish sizable state-run enterprises to oversee their critical oil resources and regulate the oil industry. Maintaining privacy for these corporations allows countries to retain control over the production, distribution, and growth of their prized oil reserves. Should these entities go public, shareholders would wield influence over a nation's paramount asset.
State-owned Saudi Aramco effectively manages Saudi Arabia's substantial oil reserves, holding the second-largest proven oil reserves globally, surpassing 270 billion barrels. It stands as the world's second-largest oil producer, maintaining a longstanding veil of secrecy around its financial figures and operational framework. However, in April 2019, Saudi Aramco disclosed its financials, showcasing a remarkable net income of $111.1 billion in 2018, derived from an impressive revenue of $355.9 billion. This disclosure solidified its position as the world's most lucrative corporation. Aramco officials also affirmed the company's estimated worth of around $2 trillion, hinting at a possible initial public offering (IPO) of 5% in 2020 or 2021, potentially generating an enormous $100 billion.
China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, more commonly recognized as Sinopec, was established in Beijing, China, in 2000. The corporation engages in the exploration of oil and gas and the manufacturing of petrochemicals. As per Fortune's rankings, Sinopec secured the second position globally among oil companies, reporting impressive annual revenues of $314 billion in 2018. During 2017, Sinopec strategically acquired several enterprises from Chevron based in Africa, amounting to a transaction value of $900 million. The year 2019 witnessed tense relations between the United States and China due to an ongoing trade war impacting Sinopec's operations. Sinopec made strategic acquisitions in the petroleum sector and conducted drilling operations in untapped regions of Africa. A Reuters report 2018 projected a crude oil production nearing 300 million barrels for the same year. Notably, Sinopec's ownership is not confined to the state, as it actively trades shares on several prominent exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and Shanghai.
China National Petroleum Company
Established in 1988, China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) stands as a state-owned giant headquartered in Beijing. Ranked as the third-largest oil company globally by Fortune, CNPC reports substantial revenues totaling $326 billion. The organization boasts an impressive workforce of 1.6 million individuals. CNPC, a key player in the oil industry, engages in oil refining, natural gas and petrochemical production, and oil field exploration. Its reach extends across Asia and Africa, with substantial stakes in various oil companies globally. In 2018, CNPC demonstrated its prowess by producing a staggering 4.14 million barrels of crude oil per day, as reported by Reuters.
The national oil entity of Kuwait, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, oversees various facets of oil production, encompassing exploration, exploitation, refining, marketing, and transportation, along with petrochemical manufacturing. Formed through the consolidation of domestic oil enterprises, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation operates under the auspices of the Kuwaiti government. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the corporation's daily oil production in 2018 was approximated at 3 million barrels. In the year 2017, the corporation amassed revenues amounting to $33 billion, as reported by Gulf Business.
In Venezuela, PDVSA, a state-owned oil firm, witnessed a production of 1.5 million barrels daily in 2018, generating nearly $21 billion in revenues, per Reuters. Due to internal challenges, including military rule and U.S. sanctions, production has experienced a significant decline. Beginning in early 2019, the United States imposed sanctions on PDVSA, aiming to destabilize the Maduro government and bolster opposition leader Juan Guaidó by halting Venezuelan crude exports to the U.S. Notably, Venezuela holds the world's fifth-largest oil reserves.
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)
Founded in 1948 and under the ownership of the Iranian government, NIOC holds OPEC membership. Its origins trace back to 1908 when it operated as the pioneering Anglo Persian Oil Company (APOC), being the first entity to extract petroleum from the Middle East, with Tehran as its headquarters. Over time, the company transformed, initially rebranded as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1935 and later, in 1954, assuming the name British Petroleum Company, a precursor to BP. However, the 1979 Islamic Revolution marked a turning point, ushering in a new regime that facilitated the complete takeover of the company by Iranians. As reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency, NIOC presently achieves a production output of approximately 3.8 million barrels of crude oil daily.
Various nations maintain control over critical oil resources through state-run enterprises. Saudi Aramco is a prime example, with an estimated value of $2 trillion. Other key players include Kuwait Petroleum, China National Petroleum, and Venezuela's PDVSA. Notably, Sinopec differs by actively trading shares on international stock exchanges. These state-owned giants significantly impact the global oil industry.