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China: Now bigger than Texas in energy markets

Canadian companies also on the rise

The old expression “everything is bigger in Texas” is no longer true when it comes to the energy sector. China has overtaken the Lone Star State as the home of the biggest and most powerful energy firms on the planet, according to Platt’s annual top 250 global energy companies ranking.

China leads the surge in energy powerhouses emerging in Asia with 27 companies in the annual financial performance ranking. Overall, Asia-Pacific firms account for six of the top 20 energy companies in the world, up from four last year.

This Asia-Pacific growth trend has existed since the authors first launched the ranking in 2002. The ranking measures companies’ asset worth, revenues, profits, and return on invested capital with assets greater than US$4 billion. A little over a decade ago only one national oil company cracked the ranking’s top 10, today four Chinese and Russian national oil companies are part of that elite group. Ten years ago, the top 20 companies were largely household names, like Texaco, Shell and Chevron; now less than half of the names in the top 20 would be recognizable to the average investor.

The strength of these state-owned energy players has already knocked ConocoPhilips, a perennial member of the top 10, down to the 13th spot and the authors predict there will be even more upheaval atop the list in the years to come. China’s CNOOC Ltd., which has climbed 64 spots since the launch of the ranking, illustrates the strides being taken by these national energy firms. The company is now ranked 12th overall and is amongst the fastest growing companies in the world—and that doesn’t even take into consideration its $15.1 billion purchase of Nexen.

Overall 74 of the 250 companies in the ranking come from the Asia-Pacific region, up from just 45 in 2002.  Still, while Asian companies continue to increase their presence in the global energy sector, North American energy companies are reclaiming lost ground in terms of growth rates, thanks largely to the production boom from shale gas and tight oil formations like the oil sands.

On a three-year compound annual growth basis, 15 of the world’s 50 best-performing energy companies were in North America, up from just six in 2012. Asia still has the lion’s share of the fastest growing companies with 20 in the top 50, but that’s down from 29 last year.

Platt’s global energy company ranking includes 19 Canadian companies this year,  up slightly from 2012 and up from 10 in 2002. These figures, though, mask the strength and significance of the Canadian energy sector on the global stage. Back in 2002 four of the 10 companies no longer exist. Alberta Energy Co., PanCanadian Energy Co, Petro-Canada and Nexen, were are on Platt’s ranking but they have since combined or been taken over.

Canadian firms continue to rise up the list. Two firms are even counted amongst the top 10 fastest growing energy companies: Pacific Rubiales and Pembina Pipeline. Suncor is the top ranked Canadian firm overall at 32, although that’s down from 21st spot in 2012.

Fastest Growing Companies on Platt’s global energy company ranking:

Company Region 3-year compound growth rate
Cairn India Ltd. Asia/Pacific


Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. Americas


Kunlun Energy Co. Ltd. Asia/Pacific


China Resources Gas Group Ltd. Asia/Pacific


Pembina Pipeline Corp Americas


HollyFrontier Corp. Americas


Continental Resources Inc. Americas


Concho Resources Inc. Americas


Energy Transfer Equity LP Americas


EOG Resources Inc. Americas


Click here to view the complete list of the fastest growing companies or here to view Platt’s Top 250 global energy companies ranking