Higher oil prices and capital expenditure discipline are setting the stage for the highest free cash flow on record for the world’s exploration and production companies this year. And U.S. shale firms—set to generate $60 billion free cash flow—are primed for playing a key role in the record-breaking free cash flow from global upstream operations. The U.S. shale patch is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of capex discipline and high oil prices, as well as the largest contributor to the highest-ever free cash flows from the upstream business globally, independent research firm Rystad Energy said in a new report.
$70 oil can certainly help a lot, but it is also capital discipline at every single oil company—from supermajors to U.S. independents—that is contributing to record cash flows this year.
Free Cash Flow Set To Hit Record-Breaking $348 Billion in 2021
The world’s public oil firms are set to see their combined free cash flow—all cash flows from upstream activity excluding such from financing or hedging effects—surge to a record-breaking $348 billion in 2021. According to estimates from Rystad Energy, this would be $37 billion higher than the previous all-time high of $311 billion, which was generated in 2008. Back then, just before the financial crisis, oil prices averaged $100 a barrel that year.
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Source: Oil Price