Breakingviews

Shell could win from bold $70 bln swoop on BG

April 8, 2015

The oil major is offering a fat 50 pct premium for its UK rival. But the share price was depressed and the synergies are attractive. The deal could prove a smart and opportunistic way to boost growth via deepwater assets and liquid natural gas – provided Shell keeps costs down.

Shareholders give Exxon the benefit of the doubt

February 2, 2015

The oil major is keeping mum on spending plans even as rivals cut back. And it only beat Q4 estimates thanks to tax and legal breaks. Unlike Chevron, though, Exxon is still buying back stock, if less than before. Such relative resilience appeals to investors, but might not last.

Crude slump will stoke European oil and gas M&A

January 2, 2015

The sharp drop in the price of Brent might make it harder to get deals done in the short term. But if the downturn persists, financial distress will put some small players in play. Larger, more defensive mergers, designed to create value by sharing costs, are also possible.

Market too bearish on European oil services

November 28, 2014

Petrofac has fared especially badly, falling 30 pct in a week. Sub-$75 oil is rattling explorers’ and producers’ nerves. As projects are shelved, oil service companies are being hurt. Share ratings reflect the pain and much depends on oil prices. But some stocks now look cheap.

New Shell chairman has a tough job on his hands

October 30, 2014

Charles Holliday arrives at the Anglo-Dutch major as oil prices slump towards $85 a barrel. After a dismal 2013, Shell is making good progress. But while Holliday has sound experience at DuPont and Bank of America, he will need to learn the tricks of his new trade quickly.

How Big Oil could grease invisible hand

By Stephanie Rogan
September 22, 2014

“Pump” contends that democracy at the gas station would help U.S. democracy more broadly. Offering drivers fuel choices like ethanol, as Brazil did, might ease the grip of Exxon Mobil and its peers. The film makes a convincing case, even as it evades some inconvenient truths.

Stanford’s snub to coal typical of Silicon Valley

By Christopher Swann
May 8, 2014

The black rock is an easy target for the university’s $18.7 bln endowment. Yet shouldn’t the principle behind it apply equally to oil producers, even local titan and Stanford donor Chevron? Like some of its grads, the university seems willing to shun certain evils only so far.

Exxon’s fracking gag makes Chesapeake look good

By Christopher Swann
May 30, 2012

That’s a rare feat. The troubled gas firm is infamously opaque. But Chesapeake’s openness on the risks of fracking puts larger rivals like Exxon to shame. After another large minority vote from investors for more information, Big Oil should follow its troubled cousin’s lead.

Shell must hope Voser successor mimics his ways

May 2, 2013

The outgoing CEO’s anti-bureaucratic style and distaste for corporate adventurism put the Anglo-Dutch major back on course after its 2004 reserves scandal. His tenure shows how the steady approach benefits resource shareholders. Too bad the board couldn’t keep him in post.