Oil and gas industry bosses have forecast improved performances and higher levels of investment this year despite concerns over global economic instability, a new report says.
The document also says the increased spending will focus on exploration activity, with North America widely seen as having the best opportunities in 2012.
Commissioned by GL Noble Denton, an independent technical advisor to the industry, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s second annual industry barometer looks at many of the issues faced by those operating in the oil and gas sector.
More than four out of five (82%) of the 185 directors and policy-makers surveyed for the report were either highly or somewhat confident about the business outlook, compared with 76% last year.
Just 8% of those polled described themselves as pessimistic over performance in 2012.
Findings from the research also show that nearly two thirds (63%) of executives planned to invest either somewhat or substantially more over the next year, up from 49% in 2011.
More than two-fifths (41%) of industry professionals expected to see increased investment in exploration activities over the next year, with only 4.3% anticipating a decline.
But the report also warns that if global economic conditions worsen, companies will have to scale back their spending commitments where they can do so without creating damage to their wider portfolios.
Rising operating costs were seen as the main barrier to growth, while respondents said skills shortages were becoming more acute.