Royal Dutch Shell says that offshore drilling is now more competitive than onshore shale drilling, upending what has become conventional wisdom since the 2014 oil market meltdown. The downturn was thought to place a premium on short-cycle shale drilling, dramatically reducing the risk companies face by allowing them to quickly earn their money back in a matter of months or even weeks on individual shale wells. In sharp contrast, deepwater drilling requires huge upfront outlays, and promises returns that extend over years or even decades, not a particularly desirable place to be in the “lower for longer” environment or in a world in which peak oil demand looms. But Shell argues that the earnings are much better offshore. “The most excitement at the moment is from the deepwater,” Andy Brown, Shell’s head of exploration and production, told the Financial Times in an interview. Shell has prioritized projects in Brazil […]