Big Oil’s Big Bet on Natural Gas Has Been a Big Headache

The world’s biggest oil companies have been steadily shifting investments toward natural gas, driven by an emerging globally traded market and environmental concerns. But right now they’re taking a hit as prices tank.

Supermajor energy producers — Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., Total SA and BP Plc — saw a steep drop in the prices they received for gas in the past quarter. Alongside a dip in refinery margins, weakness in gas skimmed off second-quarter earnings.

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