It used to be the buccaneering part of the oil industry. But today oil exploration depends on a company’s market capitalisation. As the minnows and gamblers of the independent oil sector find it increasingly difficult to fund exploration, or even to find any acreage to explore at all, the big firms prefer to take their deep pockets where the geological risks, they believe, are low. As a result, the oil majors are spending billions of dollars in the hope of finding billions of barrels in their
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