Feb 2, 2021

Big Oil hit by record losses from pandemic and clean fuel

The pandemic's devastating impact on Big Oil was illustrated on Tuesday when some of the world's biggest energy groups reported record annual losses, marking a brutal 12 months for an industry under mounting pressure to speed up a transition to cleaner fuels. ExxonMobil, the US's biggest oil producer, racked up losses of more than $20bn last year - the first annual loss in its history. Crude markets crashed last March as a Saudi-Russia oil-supply war erupted just as governments imposed lockdowns and travel bans to stop the spread of coronavirus, crippling global oil demand, fuel sales and refinery margins. On top of the devastation to oil company revenue caused by the pandemic and last year's price crash, investors and environmental activists have also assailed the sector with demands that it step up efforts to reduce carbon emissions. A recent oil price rally sparked by the rollout of mass vaccination programmes and hopes that the global economy will recover this year has improved the outlook for oil producers.

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