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    Survey shows capital spending to rise in 2012

    Dahlman Rose & Co

    According to a just-released survey by Dahlman Rose & Co., oil and gas companies are projected to spend more for exploration and production this year in spite of slow economic growth and concerns about sovereign debt in Europe and elsewhere globally.

    Dahlman Rose expects capital spending in the US to increase for a third consecutive year. This is due in large part to continued development of unconventional resource plays and the use of high-cost technology (horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing) to extract natural gas, gas liquids, and crude oil from various domestic shale plays. The 11% increase in spending in the US is the largest growth for any region in 2012.

    Outside the US, capital spending is expected to increase 9.3% to a whopping $595 billion. International growth is attributed to growth in deepwater projects around the globe as well as a rise in capital outlays for shale and other unconventional energy resources.

    Most of the increased spending is by the oil majors (ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and ExxonMobil) and large international oil producers, such as Shell, Total, Statoil, Petrobras, CNOOC, and PetroChina, many of which are investing heavily in North American shale plays and in the Canadian oil sands. For the most part, spending increases by smaller independents are more modest.

    Dahlman Rose projects international exploration and production spending to jump by 9%, driven mainly by the large international oil companies and several large independents. This is the second consecutive year this sector has seen significant increases in spending.

    Africa and the Asia-Pacific region will experience large spending increases, as well as North America. Europe, Russia, and Latin America will see slower growth.

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