The top oil and gas producers – and what makes them different

Working with a major North Sea oil and gas provider, we see close-up what it takes to make them different. When you work on-site and behind the scenes, exploring how to deploy flow computers, you observe up close how they continue to excel in a highly competitive field. There are evident qualities of the top oil and gas producers that are worthy of some consideration. Here we explore the main players.


Shell is a leading player in the North Sea and has been for 50 years. The first answer to the question: what makes them different, is probably longevity. The institutional learning and reflection over such a long-time mean practice has been honed.

Shell also has the benefits of scale. They have 30 platforms in the North Sea, and onshore they own and operate the pipeline systems and the terminal that is responsible for delivering more than a fifth of the gas supply to the United Kingdom.

History and scale are a part of the past and does not ensure a bright future. Here is where Shell excel. They have teams based in both London and Aberdeen whose entire focus is on developing the new technology that will mean Shell can provide for future energy needs around the world.


Chevron is a global company, better known for work in the US. However, they are a significant player in UK energy production. Therefore, it is worth looking to see what makes them distinct. Chevron does operate fields; they own four in the North Sea. However, what makes this company different is specialisation. They focus on specific operations such as high-pressure, high-temperature gas condensate fields and subsea developments. As with Shell, the company is known for technological innovation. It is the focus on seeking a future for complex energy needs rather than sitting on historical and present profits that sets these companies apart.


Total is also a global player in the oil and gas sector, though based in France, it is active in more than 130 countries and with more than 100,000 employees. Therefore, the power of scale makes the operations of such a company different.

However, as with Chevron, there is also acceptance in this company of the responsibility in shaping a future society and environment. Affordable and clean energy are central to Total’s values. Fuel poverty will likely be a significant societal concern for decades to come. The damage to our climate and our environment should be unquestioned. Therefore, like all the top players in the oil and gas sector, Total work ethically to promote a better future.


BP also enjoys a long history and the power of scale, with over 70,000 employees. They work in 78 countries across Europe, North and South America, Australia and Africa, so are a global company.

Yet, it is the set of core values that drives BP that makes then distinct. It is the value for safety, respect, excellence, courage and being a single team moving forward.

The value of a strong, single vision being driven by one team is harder than you think in the oil and gas sector. Skills and responsibilities are highly sectioned off from others and can create internal competition and by extension conflict. The best providers have a business model that sees the supply chain of oil and gas as a single entity and works across this chain to deliver consistent excellence.

What we can learn

When you look carefully at the big players in oil and gas, it is easy to see the significant influence of size. However, with size also comes proportional liability, so this cannot be the only factor. Equally, a long history in the sector is not a guarantee for a healthy future. Therefore, the distinguishing factor of those who are successful is a strong focus on the future and managing the factors that will impact the efficient delivery of society’s energy needs.

Ex~i Flow Measurement specialises in products for the gas and liquid measurement industry – manufacturing, researching and developing with a focus on continuous project development and enhancement. To speak to us about how we can help you, call +44 (0)1243 554920 or contact us here.