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Big Oil Sees Cash Rolling In, But Investors Won’t Get It Yet

  • Higher crude prices mean significant improvement in earnings
  • Capital expenditure to remain near historic lows this year
, U.S., on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Oil fell for a second day with an increase in U.S. crude inventories compounding concerns around a choppy global demand recovery.
Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg
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After one of the most difficult years in the oil industry’s history, crude prices have recovered and major producers are finally generating spare cash. Investors really want to get their hands on it, but most are likely to be disappointed.

That’s because the pandemic has created a legacy of debt for the world’s biggest international oil companies, many of which borrowed to fund their dividends as prices crashed.