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Cautious US majors curb annual spend

Recovering oil prices will not be enough to convince producers to stump up additional cash, but investors may still benefit from a substantial dividend pay-out

Market volatility is set to continue to constrain annual capex spend among US majors and ‘superindies’, even as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines boosts oil prices and the prospect of a return to normal economic activity. Operators in the US shale patch were particularly burned by the economic downturn last year, and the largest US firms remain wary about overextending themselves. In 2020, the trio of ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips posted a colossal combined $30.2bn loss as oil prices plunged and energy demand vanished. ExxonMobil recorded the biggest loss and is again cutting capex. The major suffered a $22bn loss in 2020 and was forced to slice $10bn from its 2019 capex budget, a

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