Since the end of the financial crisis, high oil prices have
fuelled a spending binge on multi-billion dollar megaprojects,
deep-water drilling programmes and Arctic adventures as the
supermajors have scrambled to secure new resources. ExxonMobil,
Shell, Chevron and BP, the West's four largest oil companies,
spent a staggering $686 billion from 2008 to 2013, with annual
investment levels rising by about 50% over the same period.
Quarter after quarter, executives told investors that the
increased spending would unlock new supplies and profits, but
total oil and gas production from the four largest companies
actually fell more than 3% from 12.6 million barrels of oil
equivalent a day (boe/d) in 2008 to 12.2m boe/d in 2013.
Investors have had enough and are pushing the supermajors to
axe spending and sell assets.
Arctic on ice
Shell's new chief executive, Ben van Beurden, started his
tenure by putting the...