PetroChina Passes Exxon to Become World's Top Oil Producer

A big shift is happening in Big Oil — an American giant now ranks behind a Chinese upstart.

Texas-based Exxon Mobil is no longer the world’s biggest publicly traded producer of oil. For the first time, that distinction belongs to a 13-year-old Chinese company called PetroChina. The Beijing company was created by the Chinese government to secure more oil for that nation’s economy.

PetroChina announced today that it pumped 2.4 million barrels a day last year, surpassing Exxon by 100,000.

The company has grown rapidly over the last decade by squeezing more from China’s aging oil fields and outspending Western companies to acquire more petroleum reserves in places like Canada, Iraq and Qatar. It’s motivated by a need to lock up as much oil as possible.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...