National Oil Companies (NOCs)

14. Country comparisons

Here are some examples of well-known and profitable NOCs from different regions:


  • State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) was established in 1992 as a state oil company of the Azerbaijan. SOCAR controls foreign involvement in petroleum sector through production sharing agreements which it has commercial and regulative roles in.

  • In 2010, around 60% of the state budget came from the oil sector through the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) and taxes on the oil sector. In the course of next three years this has fallen to 58%, and much of the non-oil sector was indirectly funded by the oil sector.

  • In 2016 however, the low oil price has had negative impacts on SOFAZ’s income whose 2016 budget deficit will be 1.4 time higher that the fund’s total annual income.

  • While Azerbaijan became the first country to achieve compliant status with the EITI in 2009, state agencies have been slow to comply with its provisions and The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights have reported their concerns over human rights and transparent & accountability of SOCAR to the parliament as a result of their ten-day visit to Baku, Azerbaijan.


  • The state petroleum company, Statoil was created in 1972. It was granted preferential status in licences, increasing to 51 percent on commercial discovery, and carried through the exploration phase by the private partners. Statoil developed rapidly as a commercial enterprise. The primary goal from the outset was commercial efficiency, and the institutional structure of the sector was clear. Extended public discussion of both structure and policies took place. The Company’s portfolio was later split in two, and all remaining elements of preferential treatment were removed. In 2001 Statoil was partly privatized. The State had no Board participation and the State’s direct participation in licences was held by a separate entity, the State Direct Financial Interest (SDFI), in turn managed by another state entity operating on a non-profit basis. The trend has been for state participation to become much lower to around 20 percent.


  • Established in 1974, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is Malaysia’s national oil company. It was ranked among the largest corporations on FORTUNE Global 500®. In 2008 the annual turnover of the company was around 59 billion dollars which has a significant contribution to the national budget. Petronas was particularly successful in geopolitically challenging regions. As such it was the first oil and gas firm to venture into conflict-fraught South Sudan following its independence from Sudan in 2011. Petronas also has been operating four blocks in Iraq. Currently, with two Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facilities in the pipeline the company is promising to create hundreds of new jobs in Malaysia and become a technology pioneer.