Latest results from global oil services firms and the IEA’s flagship investment report both highlight an uptick in upstream spending, but one that remains overwhelmingly focused on US shale. Whether this will be enough to balance the market given mounting geopolitical risks (see p10) remains to be seen.

Global upstream spending is slated by the IEA to rise by 5% to $472bn this year on the back of 2017’s modest 4% increase – though this followed a cumulative fall of near...