BP and Shell have similar levels of indebtedness—net debt to equity ratios in the mid-30s—and both say they can break even at oil prices around $50 a barrel, meaning their cash flows would cover expenses, capital spending and dividends. There, however, the similarities end: BP announced a big share-buyback program for the first time since the oil crash in 2014 with its results. Shell hasn’t. Royal Dutch Shell became the latest major oil companyto report a big jump in third-quarter profits on Thursday. It has been a tough few years for BP shareholders and it is understandable that management would want to signal to investors confidence in the firm’s rebound. But given the uncertainty in oil markets—oil prices were languishing around $45 a barrel as recently as June—it may be early for Europe’s indebted oil and gas firms to start returning more cash to investors, particularly with dividend yields […]