BP pushed out of oil world's top three

Click to follow
The Independent Online
BRITISH PETROLEUM'S standing as one of the world's biggest oil companies received a further blow yesterday when the company slipped to sixth in an industry league table.

The company had held the world's number three position in the oil business for years, but has now been overtaken by rivals because of its persistent financial problems.

Its fall reflects a sharp drop in its share price due to a collapse in profits and the halving of its dividend, announced earlier this month.

As a result, two US oil companies, Mobil and Chevron, have displaced BP at number three and four by market value, according to data supplied by Lehman Brothers. The fifth rank has gone to British Gas, thanks to a firming in its share price in the past few days, pushing BP into sixth place.

The top slot is currently held by Exxon, the US company, although it has occasionally been dislodged from its perch by arch-rival Royal Dutch Shell.

Jeremy Hudson, oil analyst at Lehman, said: 'The drop in BP's ranking is part of an inevitable contraction of the company's asset base. It marks the stock market's recognition that BP will be constrained in the next few years.'

The company's market value has fallen from about pounds 15bn in the past 12 months to pounds 10.25bn, based on yesterday's closing price of 191.5p, up 4p. BP is struggling with a dollars 16bn debt mountain, low oil prices and weak trading conditions. Earlier this year Robert Horton was forced to step down as its chairman and chief executive following a boardroom row.

----------------------------------------------------------------- WORLD'S OIL & GAS GIANTS ----------------------------------------------------------------- Ranking Market value (pounds bn) 1 Exxon. . . . . . . . . . . . . 41.5 2 Royal Dutch/Shell. . . . . . . 39.4 3 Mobil. . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.4 4 Chevron. . . . . . . . . . . . 13.3 5 British Gas. . . . . . . . . . 10.4 6 British Petroleum. . . . . . . 10.3 7 Texaco. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.7 8 Elf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8.5 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Lehman Brothers -----------------------------------------------------------------

Comments