Upstream spending, cut by $285 billion in two years, will struggle to recover to pre-pandemic levels

pandemic levels investments spending upstream
Gulf
  • Date: 15-May-2021
  • Source: Saudi Gazette
  • Sector: Oil & Gas
  • Country: Gulf
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Upstream spending, cut by $285 billion in two years, will struggle to recover to pre-pandemic levels

OSLO — The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on upstream investments in the first two years of the downturn is estimated at a whopping $285 billion, and although spending will slowly start to rise from 2022, it will not reach pre-crisis levels in the coming period, according to a Rystad Energy report. The shale sector has been the most affected, with conventional exploration and investments in mature assets suffering the least thus far. In February 2020, before COVID-19 started impacting the global energy system, Rystad Energy estimated global upstream investments for the year would end up at around $530 billion, almost at the same level as in 2019. Our forecast at the time suggested 2021 investments would remain in line with the previous year’s level. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a collapse in oil prices during the early part of the second quarter last year, E&P companies slashed investment budgets to protect cash flow. This spending trend was not reversed in 2021, when prices rose. Compared to pre-pandemic estimates for 2020 and 2021, we observe that spending fell by around $145 billion last year and will end up losing $140 billion by the end of this year. This implies

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