By U.S. News & World Report
The meaning of the term "Big Oil" has changed overnight, as state-controlled PetroChina became the first company worth more than $1 trillion, tripling its value Monday in its debut on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and making it by far the largest company in the world.
Analysts are puzzling over whether this cash infusion will transform the energy scene and the role of China in the world economy or whether the Asian market is caught up in an irrational exuberance that will make the dot-com bubble seem small.
Just how big is PetroChina?
By market capitalization, it is now worth more than the two previous global corporate front-runners, ExxonMobil and General Electric (GE) combined. A unit of the state-owned China National Petroleum, PetroChina is unquestionably China's biggest oil producer. But PetroChina makes only one-quarter of the revenue that Exxon rakes in, and it has slightly less in oil and gas reserves -- an important factor investors consider when they weigh an oil company's prospects. Significantly, though, PetroChina's reserves have been growing about 5% a year in recent years, outpacing those of Exxon and other oil giants.