Even in the age of cheap solar panels, most of the world’s energy is still being produced from the remains of Jurassic forests, and there are many oil companies making billions of dollars from petroleum. In this article, we will take a look at the top 10 oil companies in the world.

The Top 10 Oil Companies

Based on revenue from 2018, these are the top 10 largest oil companies in the world.






2018 Revenue (billions)


2017 Revenue (billions)






$377 billion




Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)
















Chevron Corp. (CVX)








China National Petroleum Corporation








Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) 








Total SA (TOT)








Saudi Aramco


Saudi Arabia





















The big takeaway from this table would seem to be that Saudi Arabia is still king of oil, though other oil titans such as Venezuela have dropped significantly in the list. In addition, countries such as China are increasingly heavily in the list. For example, conglomerate Sinopec had a whopping 30% year-over-year growth in net profit in 2017. Still, there is difference between market cap is significant--while Saudi Aramco's comes in at $119.61 billion, India's ONGC that ranks low in revenue has a market cap of $986.29 billion. If there was ever a case for eventual price convergence, surely similar companies pulling out the same commodities should eventually end up at similar prices. Of course, there are quite a few reasons for the difference in market cap, and they apply to all the non-U.S. companies on the list to some extent.

The U.S. companies are not that far out of alignment when you look at the total assets and the market cap. The gap represents concerns about the political and economic stability of the company’s nation, important to note for risk management. Companies such as Russia's Gazprom and India's ONGC valuations will change the most as national oil companies, based on the current political regime in power.

In cases wherein the gap is largest, it is because investors are not comfortable having their investment under the legal and financial jurisdiction of the political party in power. With others, the market cap discount speaks to specific weaknesses, such as having a lower return on assets or holding assets in troubled areas. 

The Bottom Line

While it is interesting to see where companies line up against one another globally--for example, there are only two U.S. companies in the top 10, and China now has two companies in there. Even as alternative energy sources are being developed--such as Shell's investments in lower-carbon technology including renewables like wind, solar, and electric vehicle charging-- the most important takeaway is that oil is a truly global industry that is not going away anytime soon. If you are looking to invest in this industry, there are some strong companies – big and small – outside the U.S. worth considering.