The fifty largest oil and gas companies operating in the U.S. spent close to $186 billion in 2012 on exploration and production. That’s the biggest capital expenditure since Ernst & Young began tracking U.S. oil and gas reserves five years ago.
The study attributes the jump to increased spending on finding and developing tight oil formations and natural gas liquids.
Marcela Donadio is Americas Oil and Gas leader for Ernst & Young.
“The fact that capital expenditures are very, very high are reflective on increased jobs in the Houston area. The influx of people that are coming in, in some ways it reminds me a little bit about all of the energy activity in the late ’70s and early ’80s.”
The spending came despite a nearly 60% drop in energy producers’ after-tax profits, driven largely by low natural gas prices.