Increased activity in the exploration and production sector will be the primary driver in pushing oil and gas capital expenditure to an enormous $1,039 billion for 2012, according to GlobalData.
The total oil and gas capex will increase by 13.4% this year over the 2011 total of $916 billion, as oil companies intensify upstream operations across locations as diverse as offshore Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Circle.
Investor confidence in new upstream projects is being driven by the increasing number of oil and gas discoveries (242 last year alone), combined with consistently high oil prices and the arrival of new technologies that are giving the major firms access to deep offshore reserves that were previously technically and financially unviable.
GlobalData reported that national oil companies are expected to lead in terms of capex, contributing approximately half of the total, with integrated oil companies and independents making up the remainder. NOCs including Petroliam Nasional Berhad, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation and Petrobras plan on substantially increasing their E&P spending this year.
In terms of capital expenditure for the 2012–2016 period, Petrobras ranks first globally amongst NOCs and ExxonMobil Corp. is expected to be the number one IOC. Together, these two plan to undertake a massive oil and gas capex of $409 billion through to 2016.