Companies have learned to live with low oil prices.
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French giant Total saw its bottom line jump by more than a third, Shell's net profit tripled, ExxonMobil's fourth-quarter earnings rose nearly fivefold, Norway's Statoil swung back into the black and BP's profits soared.Correspondingly, after falling from $115 per barrel in 2014 to under $35 at the start of 2016, oil prices have been rising, from an average $44 in 2016 to $54 in 2017 to nearly $70 this month.Shell's CEO Ben van Beurden said he now always works on the assumption that oil prices would remain "lower forever".Globally, these investments rose by 4 percent to $389 billion last year and are expected to increase by a modest 2-6 percent again this year, according to estimates published by IFP Energies Nouvelles last week.Companies are holding back because oil prices look set to remain volatile and vulnerable to fluctuation.
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