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Led by Shell, Alaska's oil majors dominate Fortune's Global 500

Eric Christopher Adams
Aaron Jansen illustration

Four of the top five wealthiest corporations in the world are energy companies, and three of them have significant economic ties to Alaska's onshore and offshore oil and gas sector.

Big Oil is back on top in Fortune Magazine's Global 500 rankings, with Royal Dutch Shell, the "new kid on the block" of energy multinationals doing business in Alaska, atop the annual list.

The Hague-based supermajor had $30.9 billion in profits and nearly a half trillion dollars in revenues. Let's write that out: $484,000,000,000 in revenues, with $30,900,000,000 in profit. That's more than double the revenue and profit Shell reported in 2010, according to Reuters. After years of delays and regulatory hurdles, Shell is poised to begin exploring leases it holds in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska's Arctic coastline within weeks.

Coming in second on the list and leading the pack of U.S.-based corporations was Exxon Mobil Corp., which boasts some of Alaska's richest oil and gas fields in its energy portfolio, including the majority of leases to develop Prudhoe Bay -- the largest conventional oil field in North America. It also has leases in the undeveloped Point Thomson field, thought to hold 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of millions of barrels of petroleum liquids.

Here's a look at the top five:

1. Royal Dutch Shell (The Netherlands)
2. Exxon Mobil Corp. (U.S.)
3. Walmart Stores (U.S.)
4. BP (Britain)
5. Sinopec Group (China)

BP boasts a massive Alaska workforce, with nearly 2,000 employees and more than 6,000 contractors. It operates the Prudhoe Bay fields on behalf of itself, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and other companies.

Speaking of ConocoPhillips, Alaska's biggest producer of oil and natural gas landed ninth on Fortune's Global 500 list. Conoco claims an Alaska workforce of 1,000 employees, owns and operates a liquefied natural gas facility on Cook Inlet and holds about a one-third interest in the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Chevron, which recently sold its Cook Inlet assets, came in eighth.

Contact Eric Christopher Adams at eric(at)alaskadispatch.com