US shale oil output hit a record 6mn b/d last month. The IEA projects 13mn b/d by 2025 (including NGLs). But increased recovery rates and economies of scale are needed. Both factors are tilting the competitive advantage in favor of majors over the nimble but cash-poor independents who have long dominated the sector.

Among majors, US giants ExxonMobil and Chevron were the star performers of the recent results season. And their star assets, at least as far as E&P is concerned, were in US...