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Big Oil Earnings Battered By Virus, But Worst is Yet to Come

Big Oil Earnings Battered By Virus, But Worst is Yet to Come

Laura Hurst: May 11 2020, 4:31 AM

EXTRACTS

(Bloomberg) — Big Oil emerged from first-quarter earnings battered and bruised, but things are only going to get uglier.

Major oil and gas producers from Norway to the U.S. saw profit plunge in the opening three months of the year. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported its first loss in over 30 years, Royal Dutch Shell Plc cut its dividend for the first time since the Second World War.

Big Oil’s generous dividends have long been its main attraction to investors. But thanks to Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden they are no longer sacrosanct, after he slashed his company’s payout by two thirds.

“No CEO wants to have on their track record a cut to the dividend,” van Beurden told reporters, after doing just that.

Now the taboo is broken, others may follow.

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