Major Comparison 2015

Similarly to what I did last year, now all the 2015 annual reports are out I thought it would be interesting to create tables showing revenues, profits, number of employees, and profit per employee for each of the majors.

ExxonMobil 2015

Financial YearRevenue(bn)Profit(bn)No. of EmployeesProfit per Employee

Despite the prolonged downturn, ExxonMobil is still doing very well as a company.  True, revenues are down and profits halved but any company that can make north of $16bn clear profit in the biggest slump in a generation must be doing something right.  They are still not shedding staff, probably because they were not bloated in the first place, and the average added value of each employee is still a very healthy $220k.  Investors might be grumbling, but the company is doing very well in the circumstances.

Shell 2015

Financial YearRevenue(bn)Profit(bn)No. of EmployeesProfit per Employee

Shell are in the shit.  Having seen their revenues reduced by almost 40%, they cut the headcount by a measly 1,000 people – just over 1% – as profits collapsed by 87%.  With their purchase of BG for $70bn only adding to the problem, it could well be that the lumbering giant that is Shell is ill-suited for the industry of today and the future.  Could Prelude FLNG, like the Spruce Goose, be the only one of such size ever built?  All the talk of their rivaling ExxonMobil as the world’s No. 1 private oil company must seem like distant memories right now.

Total 2015

Financial YearRevenue(bn)Profit(bn)No. of EmployeesProfit per Employee

Total continue to surprise, actually increasing their profits since 2014 – the only major to do so.  Their overall performance is still not very impressive, but they are at least keeping their heads above water.  What their 96,000 employees do all day is anyone’s guess, but at least their numbers have been trimmed to the tune of 4% since last year.  Let’s hope this hasn’t been achieved only by selling assets along with the workforce, or maintaining production is going to be a serious challenge in the near future.

BP 2015

Financial YearRevenue(bn)Profit(bn)No. of EmployeesProfit per Employee

BP’s management might want to consider quitting the oil business and find something that perhaps they’ll be good at.  They are looking by far the most vulnerable major at the moment, and they need to turn things around in short order.

Chevron 2015

Financial YearRevenue(bn)Profit(bn)No. of EmployeesProfit per Employee
Source 1,Source 2

Chevron are being outperformed by Total, and if their revenues and profits don’t start to pick up they may have to shed yet more staff.  To what extent their poor performance is down to the weak oil price or poor management remains to be seen.

“They’re starting to look like the good old days!”


7 Responses to Major Comparison 2015

  1. dearieme says:

    It’s tempting to think, is it not, that unsuccessful CEOs should be required to return their pay?

  2. dearieme says:

    This may be asking too much, but do you have figures to hand for Imperial Oil?

  3. John says:

    A useful addition to the charts would be the price of oil next to the year, either average for the year or the price on June 30 of the year, or something like that.
    Thank you.

  4. Kathy D says:

    It is absolutely amazing what a difference a few years make. These charts show how the oil glut is taking a toll on the majors. Unfortunately, it’s taking a toll on the little guy too. And, I agree with dearieme that these unsuccessful CEOs should be required to return their pay or at least reduce it to help offset the shortfall that many of their employees are feeling.

  5. Adam says:


    Interested in your take on BP pulling out of the Great Australian Bight. Come on, pull your finger out. We’re missing your quality tales.

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