Lower 48 upstream: 2019 in review
With 2019 officially in the books, it is a good opportunity to look back at one of the most tumultuous years ever for Lower 48 operators and investors. To do that, we'll count down the five most popular stories from last year's US Week in Brief. Investors finally clamped down on the independents. The focus shifted from production growth to capital discipline and returning cash to shareholders. The result was a virtually continuous decline in rig count and a muted M&A market. Because of intense investor scrutiny, equity markets were hyper-sensitive to operational hiccups. But while the independents adjusted to new demands, the majors rigged up in earnest. ExxonMobil and Chevron both announced aggressive tight oil production targets and increased activity. Also, in efforts to keep pace Occidental Petroleum outbid Chevron for Anadarko and became the Permian's top oil producer. For now.