No End in Sight for Oil Majors' Upstream Growth

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Despite maintaining long-term net-zero plans, Western supermajors plan to either keep growing upstream production deep into this decade or maintain volumes higher than they had pledged only a couple years ago. The apparent contradiction highlights the majors' attempts to meet competing calls for energy security and the low-carbon transition amid the Ukraine war and intensifying global climate crisis. But it also speaks to a potentially uncomfortable reality: While majors’ pathways to net zero have always been a bit fuzzy, their primary role as oil and gas producers has never been in doubt — and the group is fixing to keep it that way for as long as possible. Exxon Mobil plans to add 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2027, while Chevron expects annual production growth to exceed 3% through at least then. Both will focus on short-cycle US shale and low-cost, lower-carbon projects with short timelines to get there. Investor pressures to decarbonize have not been as intense in the US, as evidenced by the pair's lack of commitments to reduce absolute Scope 3 (end-user) emissions. These pressures have been greater for their European peers, yet Scope 3 targets have not pushed them to forego upstream investments — or organic growth. France’s TotalEnergies plans modest growth in oil and significant growth in gas and LNG to 2030, leaning on reduced emissions via a one-third cut to oil product sales to maintain emissions targets. Shell and BP are staring down roughly 25% lower production in 2030 versus 2019, but strategy adjustments mean asset sales will do the heavy lifting, allowing for continued reinvestment and global supply additions.

Corporate Strategy , Conventional Oil and Gas, Capital Spending, Carbon Capture (CCS), Hydrogen, Biofuels (incl. SAF), Renewable Electricity
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