Nearly a dozen CEOs of large U.S.-based publicly owned oil and gas companies earned some of the biggest compensation packages in the country last year, according to preliminary data compiled by Equilar, an executive compensation data firm.

The top 100 CEO list was compiled originally for the New York Times, Equilar said. Overall, it said, the leading CEOs guided their companies to a 17% return on shares last year from 2011. The ranking included only those companies with at least $5 billion in annual revenue and that had reported through March 29. The data is preliminary because public companies have 120 days after their fiscal year ends to disclose the pay of top executives in their proxies. For companies whose fiscal year ended in December, most will not file until the end of this month.

For example, ExxonMobil Corp. reported on Friday that CEO Rex Tillerson, who runs the largest energy company in the world and biggest gas producer in the United States, earned $40.2 million in total compensation in 2012, up 15% from 2011. Most of the increase came from a change in pension values and other deferred compensation earnings, the company reported in a filing. Tillerson’s base salary rose to $2.5 million from $2.4 million from 2011. This year his salary was increased to $2.7 million.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, public companies are required to ask shareholders for executive compensation approvals. However, the so-called “say on pay” shareholder votes are nonbinding, Equilar said.

A “typical” perquisite package was worth an estimated $320,635 in 2012, which was almost 19% higher than in 2011, according to Equilar. Median total pay among the top 100 CEOs was about 2.8% higher, to more than $14 million. Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison was the highest paid CEO in the United States last year, followed by HCA CEO Richard Bracken, the analysis found.

Based on the filings by March 29, several U.S-based CEOs presiding over oil and gas companies made Equilar’s top 100 list.

Leading the way at No. 8 was Occidental Petroleum Corp. CEO Stephen Chazen, 65, who had a compensation package that totaled $28.5 million in 2012, Equilar said. That high salary came in spite of a 30% drop in profits and a decline of 16% in total returns. The company’s board now is searching for a new CEO to replace Chazen, a process that of late has drawn scrutiny from shareholders.

The second-highest paid oil and gas CEO, at No. 26, was Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s Al Walker, who earned $18.1 million in 2012. Anadarko’s total returns fell 2% last year. Dow Chemical Co. CEO Andrew Liveris, at No. 32, was given a compensation package totaling $16.8 million in 2012, an 8% increase over 2011 earnings. Dow’s profits were down 65% in 2012 from the previous year, but total returns edged up 17%.

Mark Papa, CEO of onshore heavyweight EOG Resources Inc., took the No. 33 slot of highest paid CEOs with $16.7 million in compensation, 13% more than in 2011. EOG’s profits fell 48% from 2011, but total returns jumped 23%, Equilar said.

Ryan Lance, who leads ConocoPhillips, the largest independent in the United States, is the No. 34 earner at $16.7 million. Lance guided the company to a 4% increase in profits and a 7% gain in total returns. At No. 48 was Michael Jennings, CEO of HollyFrontier, who earned $15 million in 2012. No. 49 was J. Brett Harvey, who presides over Consol Energy, a natural gas operator and coal developer, who earned $14.3 million last year.

Marathon Oil Corp. CEO Clarence Cazalot Jr. was ranked No. 60, with $13 million in compensation in 2012, a 56% decline from 2011, when he earned $29.9 million. Company profits in 2012 fell 7% from 2011, but total returns edged up 7%. Valero Energy CEO William Klesse, No. 69, earned $12.5 million in 2012. Marathon Petroleum Corp., which now owns the refining assets of Marathon Oil following a split, saw its CEO Gary R. Heminger at No. 71 after earning $12.4 million in 2012. He guided the company to 42% profit growth, with a 93% gain on returns.

Tesoro CEO Gregory Goff earned $11.2 million last year, which moved him into No. 87 on the list. Huntsman Corp.’s Peter Huntsman was No. 88, also with $11.2 million in compensation.

Also of note is Jeffrey Immelt, who as CEO of General Electric is guiding more resources to growing the oil and gas division. He was the No. 20 earner on the CEO list, with a compensation package last year that totaled $20.4 million.

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