HOUSTON—In the energy world where profitability is king, North American shale is oftentimes pitted against offshore developments, with each having its positives and negatives. However, chasing the rock that delivers returns is the route companies like Hess Corp. and Shell are taking, with a portfolio that includes both as cash and growth engines.

“What people don’t realize is shale is 8% of world oil supply. It’s going to grow to about 12% mid-decade and then it plateaus,” Hess Corp. CEO John Hess said earlier this week at the Argus Americas Crude Summit. “Our strategy has always been to invest in returns, go to where we can be low cost to supply. It’s really about the best rocks or the best returns, so there’s still good opportunities in the offshore.”

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