However much one likes to glamorise corporate strategy, the oil and gas industry is influenced primarily by global commodity prices.

And those prices are outside the control of the supermajors as the miserable quarterly financial figures released in recent days illustrate.

ExxonMobil, the world's largest independent to be quoted on the stock market, saw its third quarter net income sliced in half to $3.2 billion.

As overall US equities headed this week for record highs on the back of China-US trade optimism, ExxonMobil shares remained down on the year.