By Nick Cunningham – Jan 03, 2017, 3:07 PM CST
Oil prices are rising and the industry is poised for a rebound, with U.S. shale spending set to soar in 2017. But for Royal Dutch Shell, this year will be much more mundane as years of high spending and ballooning deficits force the Anglo-Dutch oil major to retrench.
Even as the New Year promises to bring a sharp improvement in the finances of oil companies across the world, including Shell, not everyone will approach the rebound in the oil market in the same way. Smaller U.S. shale companies, with assets concentrated in some highly profitable areas such as the Permian, are planning to sharply increase spending and drilling. But the oil majors are less nimble, having assets diversified upstream and downstream, spread out across the globe. They were able to weather the oil price downturn better than their smaller peers, but they respond much more slowly to fluctuations in the oil market. That stability is a feature for many investors looking to avoid volatility, but it also means that 2017 may not bring much excitement from the majors.