Salomon, Lehman, FBR: 2003 US E&P spending flat; RJA more optimistic

While US spending is flat, worldwide exploration and production expenditures will increase modestly this year, according to a handful of analysts conducting E&P spending surveys. Yet another firm's report pegged 2003 E&P spending growth at 20%.Most believe that the recent, robust natural gas prices will decline after the North American heating season ends and head back toward the 5-year average. In Lehman Bros.' most recent semiannual E&P spending survey, company expenditure budgets were based on an average Henry Hub gas price expectation of $3.42/Mcf. Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc. (FBR) found an average expectation of $3.26/Mcf in its survey.Gas price-driven spendingSt. P...

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