The FT commented recently of the giant oil companies: "Second-quarter results were a breathless mix of missed expectations, rising costs, lower upstream production and deteriorating downstream operations." ExxonMobil reported its eighth consecutive quarter of falling annual production. Royal Dutch Shell announced a $2 billion write-off of its North American shale holdings as it moves to sell half its main unconventional assets there.
The Economist front-paged a picture of a dinosaur brandishing a fuel nozzle, suggesting that oil is "yesterday's fuel." Is that really so?
Despite the outbreak of pessimism, this has actually been quite a good year for oil. While commodities generally have fallen in price, oil has proved remarkably resilient, continuing to trade around $100 a barrel despite the slowdown in China and the sluggishness of the economic recovery in America.
Does this mean the longer-term outlook for the world's most important commodity is rather better than the generally-bearish view of commentators and the low valuations of oil shares would suggest?
David Fuller's view Martin Spring includes a long-term view in this opening feature which I think will be of interest to subscribers.Back to top