Looking back, 2019 was a stare down between investors and operators, with investors demanding the latter to hold the line on generating free cash flow. E&Ps, likewise, faced overcoming long-held habits of growing through the drillbit as fast as possible while smelling the sweet aroma of rising commodity prices throughout the year. Oh, to add a rig and a bit of boe per day!

Yet upstream operators might be passing the blink test, by and large.

There was a day when the industry measured success by growth rate and production volumes. Today, less is more on those metrics, at least in the minds of the capital providers. Now, more return of capital to said investors is less punishable in the markets.

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