The oil industry is a fickle beast. The inflation-adjusted price of a barrel of crude took off in 2004 after decades of stability and rose to stratospheric heights. Record highs were touched, then outstripped; by mid-2008, prices had risen to over $147, with a further rise predicted. It never came. The financial crisis brought uncertainty and yo-yoing prices—and ultimately, the penury of the last two years. It’s a history worth keeping in mind when considering the clutch of recent reports—from Barclays, the US government’s energy information administration (EIA) and energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, among others—that point to the world’s major oil and gas companies having turned a corner.