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How Wall Street is killing Big Oil

Investors effectively driving the majors into liquidation; global dominance shifts to emerging markets.

Chicago

LEE Raymond, the famously pugnacious oilman who led ExxonMobil between 1999 and 2005, liked to tell Wall Street analysts that covering the company would be boring. "You'll just have to live with outstanding, consistent financial and operating performance," he once boasted. For generations, Exxon and its Big Oil brethren - including Chevron, ConocoPhilipps, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total - dominated the global energy landscape, raking in enormous profits and delivering fat dividends to shareholders. Big Oil has long been an investor darling.

Those days are over. Once reliable market beaters, Big Oil shares are lagging: Over the past five years, when the S&P 500 rose more than 80 per cent,...

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