Global oil demand has crashed in recent weeks, putting unprecedented pressure on producers as the market for their output shrinks. As prices have collapsed, scrutiny of balance sheets has grown. But even those firms willing to resist economic forces simply cannot produce if they can’t find buyers for their output (MEES, 3 April).

IOCs are not facing the same existential threat that weighs on a number of smaller independents, but have still taken drastic action to shield their balance sheets. The five largest majors between them have slashed planned 2020 investment by more than 20%, to a cumulative $86bn (MEES, 10 April). This would be the lowest collective spend since 2009 (see chart 1). (CONTINUED - 2605 WORDS)