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A new analysis by Goldman Sachs looks at how the perception that low-carbon energy would cut future oil demand — especially via electric vehicles — could actually boost the finances of the world's most powerful oil companies over the coming decade or so.

Why it matters: The lengthy report and that counterintuitive conclusion underscore the complicated interplay between powerful legacy companies, emerging technologies and market behavior.

Big picture: It looks back at industry investment cycles over the past 40+ years: expansion, contraction, and one now taking hold again after the downturn called "restraint."

  • It's marked by "disciplined investments, further industry consolidation, structural cost deflation" and other forces.

Winners and losers: This heralds the start of a "new golden age" for the "reborn seven sisters," referring to ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, Total, Equinor and Eni, the research predicts. Historically, the majors perform best financially during "restraint" phases.

Where EVs come in: One part of the report looks at how prospect of energy decarbonization, especially the focus on EVs, is among the forces helping to disincentivize investments in big, expensive supply projects. This will continue recent years of low investment in new supply projects.

The verdict: "Decarbonization and EVs could be the best thing that's ever happened to Big Oil," the Goldman Sachs analysis led by Michele Della Vigna notes. The report says:

"[T]he demand impact of EVs, even under the more bullish scenarios, is likely to be smaller than the supply displacement from fewer [final investment decisions] driven by the higher risk premium on long-term oil. "
  • EVs will likely cut oil demand by somewhere in the one to four million barrels per day range by 2030, while the oil production lost from projects delayed or scuttled since the 2014 downturn is in the 6 million range.
  • EVs are expected to start having a net tightening effect on the oil market in the 2020s.

Why this helps Big Oil specifically: The biggest companies stand to reap benefits in years ahead from their continued investments during the downturn.

"Like the ‘Seven Sisters’ of the 1950s, these global Majors are once again dominating complex, long lead time developments in non-OECD countries, locking in higher returns, better fiscal terms and a more reliable global oil services supply chain," the report states.

Go deeper: Bloomberg explores the report here.

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Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.