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Liam Denning

Why Don't Europe's Oil Majors Sell Assets to Americans?

Companies on one side of the Atlantic are far rosier about oil demand than those on the other side.

Different worlds.

Different worlds.

Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe

U.S. and European oil majors inhabit increasingly different planets. On that of Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., oil demand remains robust despite the acknowledged challenge of climate change. Where BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SE live, meanwhile, renewable energy, batteries and electric vehicles are set to overturn oil’s incumbency relatively quickly.

For two decades, the supermajors have been valued on the usual stuff: earnings, leverage, etc. Oil’s enduring primacy wasn’t in question. Now there is a genuine division of worldviews. While the U.S. majors might be characterized as energy transition-curious, the Europeans have shown more commitment both rhetorically and in terms of dollars deployed