The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has failed to make the latest list of the world’s highest income-grossing oil companies, both nationally-run and privately-owned. The list was compiled from the organisations’ 2020 audited financial statements.

But NNPC yesterday said although the repair of roads was not within its direct purview, it was willing to fix some roads across the country to ease the movement of petroleum products. The offer by the national oil company came following a threat of industrial action by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) over increasing number of bad roads in the country.
However, the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) of NUPENG yesterday suspended the planned strike, which was earlier scheduled to commence today.

The latest list of the world’s highest income-grossing oil companies showed that although a number of the 10 highest-earning oil and gas companies in 2021 lost billions in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and trade war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, big deals and discoveries were still made, further aided by recovering oil prices from the last quarter of last year.

The list showed that Sinopec, also known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, earned $323 billion in revenues in 2020, according to a compilation by, one of the leading entities covering the global offshore oil and gas industry.
But Sinopec’s revenue fell by 28.8 per cent last year, while at the same time, net income fell by 43 per cent, leaving it with a value of approximately $70 billion.

Despite topping the list, the company’s refining and exploration/production units jointly made losses of approximately $22 billion in 2020, but earnings of $21 billion from its marketing and distribution sector helped offset the losses.
In line with China’s upcoming five-year plan, the company has moved toward developing hydrogen production and has installed hydrogen refuelling stations in at least four provinces.
China also came second on the list with PetroChina, the publicly listed arm of the state-owned company, China National Petroleum Corp, exceeding its post-pandemic expectations.

During the year, the company increased oil output by 4.8 per cent and gas output by 9.9 per cent compared to 2019 and pushed the cost of production down by 8.3 per cent, to $11.1 per barrel.
The company’s revenue fell by 23.2 per cent in 2020, but it increased its full-year dividend by more than 20 per cent and achieved new record levels of gross profit, lifted by economic recovery and rising oil prices.

The two Chinese companies were followed by Saudi Aramco with $230 billion revenue for the year under review. In April 2020, the company achieved it’s highest-ever single-day crude oil production rate, at 12.1 million barrels per day. Nigeria pumps less than 2 million bpd.
The company’s capital expenditure fell by $6 billion in 2020, mainly because it spent some money in acquiring a majority stake of chemicals company Sabic in June and invested in a joint-venture materials company with oilfield service company Baker Hughes and agreed to build a chemicals plant in eastern Saudi Arabia with TotalEnergies.
The company attained pre-tax earnings of $101 billion and a net income of $49 billion in 2020, both around 60 per cent of the previous year’s total.

The fourth position was occupied by Royal Dutch Shell, which earned about $181bn in 2020, according to the data. Shell emerged the highest-earning oil company not owned by a government.
But the company still lost $21 billion across the 2020 financial year most of which came as a result of revenue almost halving, falling to $180 billion.

On the list also was British giant BP, which grossed $180 billion in 2020. The company’s financial mirrored those of Shell, with revenue falling to $180 billion, while its upstream segment recorded a net loss of $21 billion across the 2020/21 financial year.
ExxonMobil came sixth, with revenue worth of $179 billion in the 2020 financial year, although the company lost $22.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to a $14.3bn profit one year before.

The company’s upstream division went from earning $14 billion in 2019, to losing $20 billion in 2020. Revenue fell by approximately $77 billion, though most analysts expect this to reverse again across 2021.
Occupying the seventh position, according to the data, was TotalEnergies, formerly known as Total, with total revenue of $120 billion in 2020. Its income from sales fell by $60 billion, compared to the year before, while overall net income went from $11.4 billion in 2019 to a loss of $7.3 billion in 2020.

It was trailed by Chevron with $94 billion impacted by its big moment in 2020 when it acquired US shale oil and gas producer Noble Energy. Losses peaked in the second quarter of 2020, when the company saw a net loss of $8.3 billion. Across the whole year, the company made a net loss of $5.5 billion, though net production remained mainly the same.

Russia’s Gazprom held on to the ninth position with total revenue of $85 billion although sales fell from $29 billion in 2019 to $22 billion in 2020, partly because of production restrictions following Russia’s deal with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As a result, net profits fell from $10 billion to a loss of $9.7 billion.

According to the data, America’s Marathon oil made $70 billion gross revenue in 2020, almost halving its capital spending to deal with the pandemic, with further cuts in 2021. Marathon’s sale of Speedway, its chain of vehicle filling stations, included a 15-year supply deal with buyer 7-Eleven worth about $21 billion cash transaction.
Including income from Speedway, Marathon’s adjusted raw earnings fell to $4.4 billion in 2020, down from $11.1 billion the year before. Most of the fall came from the company’s refining and marketing segment, where raw earnings went from $2.8 billion to a loss of $5.1 billion across the year.

For the first time ever, the NNPC this year publicly announced a profit of N287 billion, about $700 million (when converted at the current official exchange rate of about N410 to $1). The national oil company recently told Nigerians that it already has a projection of over N300 billion profit for this year which would be announced at the end of 2021.
The profit was mostly from the reversal of amounts impaired (when a company declares an asset valuable after it previously declared it a liability) for years. It also pushed the corporation’s total revenue to about N3.7 trillion or roughly $9 billion when converted.
NNPC is in the process of being fully commercialised with the recent passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), although it had always been bugged down by excessive political control.