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Top oil and gas companies see market cap spiral lower in Q3

Nearly all of the 25 largest North American and European oil and gas companies saw their market capitalization plummet during the third quarter amid a tepid recovery in oil and gas markets, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Finland-based oil refining and biofuels company Neste Oyj and U.S.-based transportation infrastructure companies Williams Cos. Inc. and Cheniere Energy Partners LP, were the only three companies whose market capitalization climbed during the quarter. Among the broader group, those companies also demonstrated the largest increase in market cap since the end of the first quarter, during which broader market equities bottomed out.

Twelve of the 25 of the companies on the list were worth more at the end of the third quarter than they were at the end of the first. Of the 12, only five are engaged in upstream activities, including exploration and production and drilling. Meanwhile, all of the large integrated oil and gas companies on the list are worth less than they were six months ago.

While Chevron Corp. saw its market cap slip by 0.6% from March 31 to Sept. 30, Exxon Mobil Corp. was down nearly 10%. European super majors Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP PLC, who are in the midst of diversifying their businesses, declined in value by 33.5% and 34.5%, respectively.

At the end of the third quarter, Henry Hub gas prices and West Texas Intermediate crude oil had climbed 54.1% and 96.4%, respectively, above their March 31 levels, and although natural gas prices were 8.5% above the year-ago level, oil prices were down 25.6% from their Sept. 30, 2019 level.

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As broader market equities recovered in the third quarter, energy equities suffered. From the end of June through the end of September the S&P 500 was up 8.9%, while the S&P 500 Energy index declined 19.7%.

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