Big Oil Posts Record Loss in 2020
Rystad Energy has highlighted that the five integrated supermajors – ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), BP (NYSE: BP), Shell (NYSE: RDS.A), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), and Total (NYSE: TOT) – posted a combined record loss of $76 billion in 2020.
Rystad noted that the major chunk of this loss, $69 billion, can be attributed to asset impairments and write-offs as the supermajors re-evaluated their strategy to focus on the energy transition and become less dependent on petroleum. All five majors reported net losses last year, with ExxonMobil reporting the largest at $22.4 billion, followed by Shell and BP which also incurred losses of more than $20 billion, Rystad outlined. The company said Total and Chevron fared better than their peers, relatively speaking, reporting net losses of $5 billion to $6 billion.
Rystad highlighted that all the majors had their gearing ratio raised in 2020, with BP and Shell both ending the year with a gearing above the 30 percent mark. ExxonMobil and Chevron raised a record amount of debt during the year, adding $19 billion and $18 billion respectively to their net debt, Rystad outlined, adding that both majors increased their gearing ratio by ten percent in 2020.
The combined oil and gas output of the five majors dropped by nearly five percent, or 0.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, in 2020, compared from the year before, Rystad revealed. Lower emission targets and demand for cleaner energy have significantly impacted the long-term production outlook for the majors, according to Rystad, which forecasts that the majors’ net production will be around 17.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2025 and peak at around 18 million boepd in 2028. The company’s internal forecast in February 2020 stood at 19 million boepd for 2025 and 20 million boepd in 2028.
“Last year has certainly tested oil and gas majors like never before,” Rahul Choudhary, an upstream analyst at Rystad Energy, said in a company statement.
“Some recovery can be expected in the near future as demand rebounds and oil prices cross the $60 mark. However, the key to success for the five majors over the next decade will be to strengthen their business in more resilient regions, restructure and resize to match the market needs, and pay back their high debt levels,” he added.
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