Need for energy the best gauge of spending levels

10/04/2004
Concern has arisen that oil and gas companies aren't spending money fast enough.Some observers think spending on exploration and production should rise as a function of increases in the prices of oil and natural gas.That would make sense to any investor who believed price strength could last forever. These days, investors of that mind are rare.Spending is, in fact, increasing—just not as fast as oil and gas prices. And it hasn't risen as fast as it did in past price run-ups—a healthy sign of caution learned the hard way.More important as a spending gauge than commodity price is the investment required to supply energy at rates matching projected consumption.In a report...
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