OPINION: Oil majors flush with cash from high crude prices appear to be voting with their feet and heading for new exploration and production frontiers offshore Africa and South America.

This shift contrasts with decisions by some operators to pull back investments from more mature areas such as the US Gulf of Mexico and UK North Sea.

The trend is most pronounced when it comes to frontier exploration or greenfield developments.

Some of this is explained by geology, with spectacular discoveries unearthed offshore Brazil, Guyana and, more recently, Suriname and Namibia less likely to be replicated in more mature basins.