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Chevron Corporation powers quietly up the oil ranks as it overtakes Royal Dutch Shell plc

Energy news round up: Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, ENRC, BP, Energy squeeze, New World Oil and Gas, Rio Tinto.

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Earlier this year, Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) quietly passed a milestone: it overtook Royal Dutch Shell plc (LON:RDSA) in terms of market capitalisation. With a market value of about $230bn compared with Shell’s $212bn, Chevron is on that measure the western world’s second-largest oil company, behind its US rival ExxonMobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM).

As George Kirkland, Chevron’s vice-chairman, admits, some "serendipity" has helped it reach that position. Its leaders have also made smart strategic choices: favouring oil production over gas; exploration for new fields over acquisitions, and ambitious capital spending over cautious husbanding of its financial resources.

Those decisions could make Chevron more vulnerable to a future collapse in the price of oil. For the time being, though, they are paying off. Of the five largest international oil companies – the other two are Total of France and BP – Chevron now has the highest earnings per barrel of production, and the best growth outlook. This week it reiterated with "increased confidence" its forecast that production would rise by 25 per cent by 2017, according to the Financial Times.

ENRC

FTSE 100 mining giant Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) will this week announce a massive writedown on its operations that could exceed $1bn (£670m). ENRC warned last month that it will take "significant" writedowns, as it became the latest victim of an industry-wide acquisitions spree that was devalued by a cocktail of rising costs and falling prices.

It is expected to give the precise number ahead of its full-year results on Wednesday but the impairments relate to it's alumina business in Kazakhstan, the Boss Mining copper and cobalt mine in the DRC, and Chambishi, the Zambian copper and cobalt smelter it acquired in 2010, writes the Independent.

BP

BP has sought an injunction to stop a compensation fund paying out on "fictitious" claims from businesses that say they lost money as a result of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in an attempt to save billions of dollars in costs.

In a filing at the New Orleans court that has been hearing the case for damages resulting from the spill, BP said businesses far from the gulf coast had been given awards running into millions of dollars for what it described as "non-existent, artificially calculated 'losses'", the Financial Times writes.

Energy squeeze

Ofgem has forecast that the six biggest UK energy companies will pump record profits from homes in Britain over the coming year. The energy regulator predicts that the six largest power suppliers will draw a £110 profit out of every domestic property over the next 12 months, more than tripling their margins.

Ofgem calculates that the average domestic gas and electricity bill is £1,420, with an estimated profit - or 'indicative net margin' - in the next year of £110 per household, according to The Sunday Times. That compares with a bill of £1,310 last year, says the Telegraph.

New World Oil and Gas

New World Oil and Gas, a company focused on Belize and Denmark, has announced that the Danish Energy Authority has formally approved the assignment of a 25 per cent working interest in licence 1/08 of the Danica Resources Project to the company's wholly owned subsidiary, New World Resources ApS.

The assignment of the working interest, which is located in the productive Western Baltic region of the South Permian Basin in southern Denmark, follows a farm-out agreement formed in April 2012 and the completion of the first phase of a 2-D seismic acquisition programme consisting of 166.44 sq km, and an additional 38.5 sq km 2-D seismic acquisition programme on two re-confirmed leads, ShareCast writes.

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto's former chief executive Tom Albanese saw his total pay, bonus and benefits jump by nearly 10 per cent in 2012, despite a $14.4bn (£9.5bn) writedown which led to his resignation.

Mr Albanese's total payout rose by 9.5 per cent to £4.36m last year, despite forgoing a "short- term" bonus, as the value of his long-term bonus awards increased from £1.4m to £1.7m. His pension payments increased to £1.3m. The new CEO Sam Walsh, who took over in January, saw his total remuneration rise to £4.6m, according to the Independent.

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