Quick question: What is the largest company in the world? If you said Apple, I'm sorry but you will not be headed to the showcase showdown. The world's largest company by almost any measure is an oil company: Saudi Aramco. Since the company is owned exclusively by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we don't know the true value of the company, but the best guesses based on the company's reserves estimates that the company is worth well over $1 trillion.
Even when you look over into the sphere of the largest publicly traded companies in the world, a very percentage of those companies will come from the oil and gas industry. Heck, it wasn't too long ago that half of the world's 10 largest companies were in the oil business. That shouldn't be too surprising, though, because it takes immense size and scale to extract and develop one of the world's most sought after natural resources. It is estimated that in 2014, more than $700 billion was spent on exploration and production of oil.
When we're talking about that much money, it really helps to be a big company. A larger company can secure financing at better rates, it can generate economy of scale, and normally have pretty large leverage over its suppliers. Knowing that large oil and gas companies can benefit from these sorts of things, here is a slideshow of the 10 largest oil companies that are publicly traded based on their market capitalization. As you can imagine, household names like Exxonmobil (NYSE:XOM) are on the list, but you will probably be surprised to see which one company is at the top of the list (hint: it isn't Exxonmobil)