Big Brother is Winning: National Oil Companies Overtaking Multinationals

The annual PFC Energy 50 rankings of the world's largest listed energy companies reinforce the perception that national oil companies from China and Brazil are pushing international oil companies out of the way on issues of access to global resources and future successes.

"In spite of their enormous profits, the capital markets are saying the international oil companies have to offer a new vision of growth," said Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, the consultancy that did the ranking.

The top share price performer of the year was PetroChina, which rose 181 percent, surpassing Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the world's largest energy company by market capitalization. PetroChina is worth far less if the value of its Hong Kong listed shares is extrapolated into a market capitalization, and Exxon remains the largest listed group in terms of oil production.

Prospects for international oil companies have declined since the 1970s, when they controlled 85 percent of the world's oil reserves. Today, national oil companies control 80 percent of those reserves.