Time for a greener Big Oil?

20 March 2014

The supermajors have fallen on hard times - costs have surged, output has fallen. Investors have grown frustrated by low returns and high oil prices have not proven to be the remedy they had hoped. What comes next?

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 12.2 million 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...



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