for Royal Dutch Shell
The oil majors have reported their best financial results in years, but they still face a litany of risks both in the near-term and in the years ahead.
The current environment is ideal for the oil majors: Lower production costs, consolidation, and cautious spending allow them to post massive returns.
The severe decline in investment in new LNG export capacity due to the price downturn that began in 2014 could precipitate supply problems in the 2020s, mirroring similar trends in the crude oil market.
High-ranking officials of two major IOCs will go on trial in Milan for bribing Nigerian officials to secure lucrative contracts, marking the third major corruption scandal that has touched large oil companies in recent years.
A series of recent deepwater discoveries has demonstrated that the offshore oil sector is beginning to rebound after years of subdued activity, despite increasing interest in onshore shale drilling.
Fourth-quarter earnings significantly missed expectations, but they do not necessarily negate the broader improving trend for the oil majors.
The glut of supply could last years, threatening to keep prices low until the 2020s, but the oil majors are playing the long game, expecting the demand for gas to grow substantially over time.
The promising results from Brazil's auction demonstrate that the country's offshore sector remains attractive even as the global oil industry has been hesitant to invest in big projects as a result of relatively low oil prices.
The North Sea is seeing a revival, thanks to lower production costs, new investment, a slight uptick in output, and newfound optimism. But it's unclear if the region's reversal of fortunes will last.
Oil majors may not be entirely out of the woods yet, but first-quarter performances suggest that they are on the upswing after nearly three years of mostly red ink.