Big Oil will start reporting earnings next week, but not much is likely to change since the last quarter. Downstream performance has held these companies back the past few quarters, and growth is no longer the story. The primary thing to look at with these reports is seeing which companies returned capital to shareholders.

In this video, Fool contributor Tyler Crowe and energy and materials analyst Joel South discuss how the price of Brent oil is the most critical number for Big Oil companies. ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Suncor (NYSE:SU) are two companies for investors to watch and see if they continue to spin off free cash flow.  Joel thinks Suncor is a great value, though BP is a wild card because it still has the possibility of growth because it sold a lot of assets. 

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Joel South, Tyler Crowe, and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.