The world’s largest oil firms have been increasingly drawn towards the US unconventional scene in recent years, and the trend is accelerating. ExxonMobil and Chevron announced eye-catching plans earlier this year to triple their output from the key Permian basin to 1mn boe/d and 900,000 boe/d by 2024 and 2023 respectively (MEES, 15 March).

In sharp contrast to its peers, Total has not been seduced by the US shale patch, and has instead focused its efforts on Africa and the Middle East. Many IOCs have been deterred by the political risks in areas such as Iraq and Libya, while more stable countries such as the UAE combine supersized volumes with wafer-thin margins. (CONTINUED - 1759 WORDS)