Cash, low-risk growth remain priorities for oil companies in 2018

Oil RigEnergy consultancy Wood Mackenzie says that key priorities for upstream oil and gas companies for 2018 remained largely the same, according to a survey it conducted

A report on the survey said that about half of upstream oil and gas companies surveyed continued to rate free cash flow as the most important performance metric and preferred low-risk, near-field exploration opportunities.

Oil prices, which have inched up on the back of production cuts from OPEC countries and Russia since 2017, are still much lower than levels seen before 2014 when oil markets started to get oversupplied.

The supply glut prompted oil and gas explorers to slash exploration budgets and sell assets in an effort to conserve cash.

The companies surveyed expect oil prices to average above US$60/bbl in 2018 and that prices would rise through 2021, which could mean higher levels of investment in the sector.

According to the survey, over 85 per cent of participants expect higher investment levels in 2018 compared with 70 per cent in 2017.

Meanwhile, energy companies surveyed are banking on existing assets to maximise production, while they boost exposure to renewable energy projects.

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