With WTI stuck below $50/B almost continuously since late-April, US-focused majors and large independents have dialed back on 2017 capex. They claim output will rise nonetheless. Achieving this in the short term looks feasible. Longer-term will be more tricky.

US-focused E&Ps responded to the late-2016 jump in oil prices above $50/B by raising capex after two lean years. The IEA estimates US independents are spending 54% more upstream this year than last (MEES, 21 July); ‘real...