ExxonMobil Corp. regained the top spot in a ranking of the 50 largest listed energy companies in 2010, lifted by its buyout of XTO Energy Inc. and a 7% gain in share price growth, according to the PFC Energy 50 annual ranking.

The Irving, TX-based supermajor had fallen to second place in last year's compilation behind China's PetroChina Co. Ltd. (see Daily GPI, Jan. 27, 2010). ExxonMobil, with an estimated $368.7 billion in market capitalization in 2010, has held the top spot in every PFC Energy 50 list except for 2007 and 2009.

"Surprising production growth in recent years has come from a mature province once considered in terminal decline -- onshore North America," the report noted. This "revival" brought in three U.S. energy companies new to the annual listing: National Oilwell Varco, ranked 42nd with market value of $28.2 billion; Hess Corp., in 45th place with $25.8 billion in market value; and Baker Hughes Inc., ranked 47th with market value of $24.7 billion.

PetroChina fell to second place in the latest survey after its market value fell 14% to $303.3 billion year/year, which was 18% lower than ExxonMobil. Brazil's Petroleo Brasilerio, or Petrobras, saw its market value fall 23% to $228.9 billion, but it still climbed one spot to be the third-highest valued company. Royal Dutch Shell plc was ranked fourth, up 9% to $207.9 billion in market value. Chevron Corp. rounded out the top five, with market value up 19% to $183.6 billion.

The sixth spot was captured by Russian oil giant Gazprom, whose market value rose 4% year/year to $149.4 billion. BP plc's loss of fortunes last year led to a 25% decline in market value from 2009 to $136.4 billion, but still enough to grab the seventh spot -- it was sixth in the 2009 list. French oil major Total SA was in eighth place, down 18% to $124.5 billion, while Schlumberger Ltd.'s market value rose 28%, moving it into the ninth spot. The 10th spot was claimed by the China National Offshore Oil Corp., otherwise known as CNOOC Ltd.

"In recent years the combined value of the PFC Energy 50 has fluctuated in response to macro trends," said PFC Energy CEO J. Robinson West. "This year a virtually unchanged total value concealed a wide range of individual company results. In an up market year, 13 of the 50 companies declined in value...The $3.9 trillion combined value of the PFC Energy 50 remains 27% lower than the landmark $5.2 trillion achieved three years ago at oil prices not far from current levels."

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