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    Shell Claims Spot as World's Largest Company

    Oil companies comprise seven of the top 10 spots on Fortune¿s Global 500 list.

    NEW YORK -- Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell replaced mass retailer Walmart as the world's largest company, according to the latest annual survey by Fortune magazine, which ranks the largest companies by revenues, not profits.

    Up two spots from last year's global list, the magazine said Royal Dutch Shell raked in $15 billion more in sales than No. 2-ranking Exxon Mobil. And as Europe's largest oil producer, Shell doesn't look to be slowing down, since it made a bold move by investing up to $18 billion in a plant in Qatar that would turn natural gas into cleaner-burning diesel fuel. It hopes to bring the Pearl GTL, as the facility is called, online by 2010 and expects it to produce enough fuel to fill more than 160,000 cars per day.

    Despite the steep drop in crude oil prices in the past year, oil companies dominated the latest Fortune global survey, claiming seven of the top 10 spots on the list. Besides ExxonMobil at No. 2, BP ranked fourth for another year, Chevron jumped a spot to fifth, and ConocoPhillips claimed the No. 7 spot, climbing from No. 10 in 2008.

    For the first time in 10 years, the world’s biggest firm is not from the United States. There are also fewer U.S. corporations on this year’s list than at any time since Fortune started keeping records in 1995, according to media reports.

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