The emergence of Russian companies in recent years has been reflected in the global oil market by the rapid growth of oil and gas production by the former Soviet Union country to nearly rival that of Saudi Arabia. However, the Russians are not among the very largest companies, with Lukoil, their leading producer, coming just 26th.

Of the top 10 companies, the most significant new entry was due to the 2001 merger of ChevronTexaco, which rose to eighth place. ExxonMobil Corporationand BPeach moved up the list by one place, pushing state-owned oil giants further down. There are now five private companies in the top 10, with PetroChinapart-private and the remaining four state-owned.

The ranking system measured companies on the basis of their reserves, operations and financial performance in 2001.