Hess CEO: Focus On Returns Now Will Hurt Long-Term US Shale Investment

Investor pressure on oil producers to focus more attention on shareholder returns and less on output will drive down vital industry investment in the long term, a leading U.S. shale executive said June 21.

Shareholders have been pushing for more dividends and buybacks from U.S. shale companies, whose heavy investment in production has helped the United States overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s second-biggest oil producer after Russia.

“Investor sentiment in the last year has really, markedly changed. I’d say it’s gone from, ‘drill, baby, drill,’ to ‘show me the money,'” said John Hess, CEO of Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES), speaking at the OPEC International Seminar in Vienna.