PetroChina Passes Exxon

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Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) is no longer the world’s largest corporate producer of oil. That distinction has gone to PetroChina (NYSE: PTR). Reuters reports that “PetroChina announced Thursday that it pumped 2.4 million barrels a day last year, surpassing Exxon by 100,000.” The change was inevitable.

China’s thirst for oil makes it the second largest net importer in the world after the US. PetroChina is also a quasi-governmental operation. It has access to Chinese capital. The central government of the People’s Republic needs an ever growing supply of crude to fuel industry and consumer uses–particularly for the use of cars and light trucks.

And, China can only afford so much in terms of crude price increases. China may have a central government, but the power of that government can only offset a huge rise in energy prices for so long before it must pass some of it along to consumers.