Since 2014, the downstream earnings from the same set of majors increased by over 40%. This turnaround follows years of financial pressure on downstream, which forced it to adapt and make hard choices. Downstream’s success since then is not entirely down to the low oil price, which has reduced the cost of feedstock, but to structural changes it has made to its operations and cost base.
The impact of these measures has been recognised in the boardroom. Downstream leaders have taken the top jobs in a number of the majors and the traditional language of downstream — “managing for margin” — has become pervasive.
This new Perspective looks at just what structural changes the downstream sector has made — and what the upstream business can learn from it.
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