Largest producers to distribute $40 billion next year Exxon expresses unwaivering commitment to maintaining payouts The world’s biggest oil producers may struggle to make more than $40 billion in annual dividend payouts to investors as the worst crude collapse in a generation stretches into its third year, said Chris Kettenmann of Macro Risk Advisors. Without a recovery in oil prices from the current sub $50-a-barrel level, major energy explorers will have to increasingly cannibalize drilling budgets to ensure they have enough cash to cover dividend commitments next year, Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at the New York-based brokerage, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The oil industry has canceled $1 trillion in exploration and construction projects since crude markets began a downward spiral from above $100 a barrel in June 2014. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been fired and billions of barrels of discoveries written off to conserve cash; […]