For ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) shareholders much of the current trading has felt decidedly lackluster. Upon the conclusion of the recent earnings season, most commentators agreed that neither it nor its Anglo-Dutch rival Shell (LON:RDSA) managed to captivate the market’s imagination.
Instead, that accolade went to BP (LON:BP) with its quadrupling of quarterly profits and a $10.5 billion signature acquisition of U.S. shale assets. Furthermore, an examination of annualized financials suggests Shell’s revenue, at $305.2 billion in 2017, capped that of ExxonMobil at $237.1 billion by some distance, even though the latter’s profits and market capitalization exceed that of its rival.
More holistically speaking using a benchmarking combination of sales, profits, assets, and market value, Forbes ranked Shell (at 11th) above ExxonMobil (at 13th) in the publication’s Global 2000 list of the world’s largest companies for 2018, with other supermajors – Chevron (21st), Total (26th), BP (36th), Equinor (91st) Eni (95th) – in tow.
However, a few other benchmarking criteria deemed crucial within the oil and gas industry ought to give ExxonMobil shareholders a lot of comfort and some sector-wide bragging rights.
According to GlobalData, ExxonMobil has the most remaining reserves among the aforementioned oil and gas supermajors. The data and analytics firm’s tabulation of producing, planned and announced oil and gas fields suggests that the Irving, Texas-headquartered ExxonMobil is sitting atop 28,069 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and counting.
The figure exceeds that of Shell by 27,012 million boe in 2017. However, when it came to mergers and acquisitions last year, data firm Dealogic and GlobalData figures suggest French supermajor Total had the most M&A deals with 20 over the last four quarters, followed by ExxonMobil with 18 deals.
GlobalData also said that among the planned projects which are expected to start by 2025, Chevron has the highest median for full-cycle capital expenditure (capex) per boe, with $18.2 per boe, followed by Total and Eni with $15.2 per boe and $14.7 per boe respectively.
On the flip-side, in terms of break-even oil price, Chevron also has the highest median of $51 per barrel, followed by Total with $50 per barrel. Finally, the most telling figure of it all – net profit margin in 2017 across supermajors was the highest for ExxonMobil with 12.6%, followed by Chevron with 6.8%.
So, the verdict on a fist fight between the supermajors as the oil price strengthens – Shell might be winning on paper, BP might be winning market plaudits, but ExxonMobil won’t be in any mood to give up without a fight.