I'd like to have a nickel for every time I've referred to ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) as the biggest of Big Oil. In many ways -- including market value, production, etc. -- it is.

But there's one way in which Exxon is dramatically superseded by a Big Oil outsider. Were you to limit your measure to the number of offshore drilling rigs that each of the majors has under contract, you'd be surprised by the extent to which Exxon is dwarfed by Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), Brazil's national oil company.

Looking specifically at the number of offshore drilling units working for a couple of majors, ExxonMobil has 11 rigs under contract versus Chevron's (NYSE: CVX) 19, and BP's (NYSE: BP) 10. But Petrobras dwarfs all of these companies with the 50 offshore rigs it currently has turning bits to the right, 94% of which are located off Brazil. Made up predominately of 35 semisubmersibles and 10 drillships, it isn't surprising to find the majority of Petrobras' fleet works in deeper waters. Opting for lengthier contract terms and performance clauses, Petrobras manages to generally obtain lower day rates than its peers.

But if you think that a drilling contingent more than twice as large as any of the majors is impressive, wait a little longer. Petrobras intends to spend nearly $175 billion on capex in just the next five years. It has in place contracts to build 22 new rigs -- mostly deepwater capable -- with industry observers anticipating that the number could go as high as 50 units as time goes on. And while it's currently keeping the likes of Transocean (NYSE: RIG) and Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO) busy, Petrobras's new rigs are being built in Brazil to local standards and will be operated by local contractors.

In addition to all the rigs it's ushering into the world, Petrobras is building Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) units, which look like massive barges and will be used by the company to render production in places like the huge Tupi Field, where a fourth well was just successfully drilled, and also the Cascade discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. As you recall, Petrobras owns 100% of Cascade after using its preferential rights to purchase the asset from Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN).

So Petrobras is not letting grass grow under its feet. My strong feeling is that energy lovin' Fools should pay close attention to this "highly rigged" company. And I'm not alone; the members of Motley Fool CAPS have awarded Petrobras a full five-star ranking. Head over to CAPS and make your voice heard!

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't have financial interests in any of the companies mentioned. He does, however, welcome your questions or comments. Petroleo Brasileiro is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is in a class by itself.