Big oil’s huge losses raise prospect of megamergers


Big oil’s huge losses raise prospect of megamergers

Finances are in tatters as demand crashes and the rise of clean energy forces existential reckoning

Derek Brower, Justin Jacobs and Anjli Raval

When Exxon struck the biggest deal of a $300bn wave of oil mergers during the brutal late-1990s crude price collapse, Mobil CEO Lou Noto gave a warning to the industry.

“We need to face some facts,” he said, announcing his company’s takeover. “The world has changed, the easy things are behind us. The easy oil, the easy cost-savings, they’re done. So all of us are now looking for some way to make a jump.”

Now the finances of the supermajors those deals created are in tatters, just as the rise of clean energy and doubts about long-term oil demand force another existential reckoning — and the prospect of megamergers is on the cards again...

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