PARIS: The world’s top energy companies booked enormous profits last year thanks to higher oil prices and keeping a tight lid on spending, even if that risked limiting their medium-term production capacity. The five “supermajors” — US firms Chevron and ExxonMobil, Britain’s BP, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell and Total of France – earned nearly US$80 billion in net profits last year. They all boosted their bottom line, with some hitting levels not seen since a plunge in crude prices from their perch above US$100 per barrel in 2014. Higher oil prices didn’t hurt, of course, although the fourth quarter was marked by strong volatility. Overall, the price of Brent crude was US$71 per barrel last year, compared with US$54 in 2017.
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