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Revenge of Old World Economy as Big Oil’s Cash Flow Rivals Tech

  • Exxon’s free cash overtakes Alphabet for first time since 2015
  • US supermajors enjoy the benefits of sticking with oil and gas
The Esso Fawley Oil Refinery, operated by Exxon Mobil Corp., stands in Fawley, UK.

The Esso Fawley Oil Refinery, operated by Exxon Mobil Corp., stands in Fawley, UK.

Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s cash haul overtook that of Alphabet Inc. for the first time since 2018, proving the oil giant is back in the big league just a year after suffering one of the biggest activist shareholder upsets in corporate history. 

Exxon, which lost money for the first time in its history during the pandemic, now ranks as the S&P 500 Index’s third-largest generator of free cash flow, behind only Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.