Big Oil—and its smaller competitors—attracted a lot of praise for their tight financial discipline during the last three years, after Brent collapsed from more than US$100 a barrel to less than US$30 in less than 24 months. Some actually thought this may be the new normal: financial discipline, tight belts, and careful scrutiny of any new projects. Reality seems to have proven them wrong. Reuters reported this week that big oil companies’ boards are under increasing pressure to boost spending, expand production, and increase reserves.…