Russia's Gazprom replaces Exxon atop global ranking

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 (NYSE:XOM).

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.”

Behind Gazprom, Germany’s E.ON (OTC: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.

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