The European upstream sector is undergoing multiple transitions. The energy mix, corporate landscape and public perception to oil and gas are changing, impacting investment decisions and portfolio planning. At first glance, the outlook looks bleak. Indigenous gas production is in decline and the region is ever more reliant on imports. Public and governmental opinion is increasingly negative towards the industry. The Majors are divesting legacy non-core positions in Europe and bureaucratic issues have delayed key FIDs and start-ups. Yet, there are positives to highlight too. Some of Europe’s fundamental attractions will persist – easy infrastructure access, liberalised markets and competitive fiscal terms. Liquids production will increase in the near term, frontier exploration is abundant, and licensing activity is booming. From this, we recommend three key principles for new small- or mid-cap entrants into Continental Europe.