A renewed focus on hydrocarbons by major fossil-fuel players is a “blip” that will not derail their longer-term energy transition agenda — but represents a “very, very challenging message” for oil companies “that have lost control of the narrative”, according to the chief executive of global engineering giant Worley.

Chris Ashton claimed recent announcements by European oil and gas companies over higher relative investment levels in their core business compared to areas such as renewables should not be taken as a sign that the low-carbon shift is going into reverse.