The five supermajors plan collective capex spending of just $100bn in 2017, a further 3% cut from 2016’s multi-year low (see chart 1). This puts them on track to live out the IMF’s warning on an impending fourth straight year of capex cuts in 2017 (MEES, 16 September).

Despite this, they promise a rise in output. Collectively, with France’s Total the key exception (see box), they hope to pull this off by focusing available cash in one area – US shale and the Permian in particular. (CONTINUED - 2469 WORDS)