The world’s major oil companies are planning to buy back approximately $40 billion in stock according to energy analysts at Bernstein Research and RBD Capital markets, signaling a change in strategy from increasing production to rewarding investors.
The strategic shift by oil companies is bad news for consumers seeing unprecedented volatility in markets due to tight supplies aggravated by sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Oil prices have gone from $95 per barrel to over $120 per barrel and back to $110 per barrel in the course of the last week.
Meanwhile US consumers are facing sharp price increases at the pump amid record-breaking 7.8% inflation in February, leading US government officials to exhort oil companies to ramp up production.
The impasse comes as global investors have faced demands to offload fossil fuel related business under pressure from environmentalists, activist investors and governments.