Russia's Gazprom replaces Exxon atop global ranking

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Russian natural gas producer Gazprom snagged the top spot in a ranking of the world’s most valuable energy companies, replacing U.S. giant Exxon Mobil (XOM).

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The 2017 Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings, released by S&P Global Platts on Monday, ended Exxon’s 12-year run as the No. 1 firm. Gazprom’s business ranges from the exploration and production of natural gas to transportation, storage and sales. S&P Global Platts noted that pipeline operators generally performed well in the rankings.

The Top 250 rankings are based on financial performance over the past year. S&P Global Platts considers four metrics: asset worth, revenue, profit and return on invested capital.

Overall, the 10 largest energy companies combined to earn $63.7 billion in profits, down 14% compared to the 2016 rankings. However, combined revenues surged more than 30% to $1.1 trillion amid strength in pipelines and utilities. S&P Global Platts noted that utilities performed well during a period of volatile oil prices.

“European utilities and North American pipeline operators got a boost from sticking to what they know best and shying away from more risky enterprises and territories,” said Harry Weber, senior natural gas writer of S&P Global Platts. “Regulated utilities, in particular, have an advantage because their revenues are largely defined and consistent, and are not as susceptible to swings in oil and gas prices.”

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Behind Gazprom, Germany’s E.ON (EONGY) and India’s Reliance Industries rounded out the top three, followed by South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

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Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, dropped to ninth place. U.S. refining company Valero (VLO) ranked eighth, while France’s Total was 10th.

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