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Chevron replaces BP as third-biggest oil major


Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:27am EDT

By Tom Bergin

LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) – U.S. oil major Chevron Corp (CVX.N: Quote,ProfileResearchStock Buzz) has replaced Britain’s BP Plc (BP.L: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) as the third-largest non-government controlled oil company in the world, as problems in Russia and sterling weakness weigh on BP.

BP’s market capitalisation was $131.2 billion, based on Friday’s closing share price, compared with $131.3 billion for Chevron.

BP’s shares dipped 0.11 percent to 439-1/2 pence at 1511 GMT on Monday, while Chevron shares traded down 0.8 percent at $63.40. However, a fall in sterling against the dollar meant BP’s market value fell more.

The collapse in crude prices from a record above $147/barrel in July to around $63/barrel on Monday has dented confidence in the oil sector.

BP’s exposure to Russia — its TNK-BP joint venture accounts for a quarter of BP’s oil and gas production — has weighed on the stock.

In September, BP resolved a dispute with its oligarch partners in TNK-BP over control of the unit by conceding some control to the billionaires.

This eased worries that BP might lose its half share of the business altogether but a collapse in Russian shares and worries about Russian relations with the West after Moscow’s invasion of Georgia in August has weighed on BP’s shares.

BP was the industry’s number two until it was overtaken by Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) in 2006, after BP’s valuation was hit by the Texas City refinery explosion in 2005, which killed 15 workers, and by big project delays.

BP’s value has hovered around the same level as Chevron’s in recent months a BP spokesman said, but he could not confirm if or when Chevron had previously risen above BP’s market value.

Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) is the largest listed international oil company, with a market capitalisation of $358.6 billion.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin, editing by Will Waterman and Sue Thomas)


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