Upstream spending defies industry decline

Petroleum company performance measures* [117,224 bytes] Capital spending on worldwide exploration and development rose steadily during 1994-98, despite a decline in return on capital employed that began in 1996 and reached a dismal 3.1% last year vs. 9% in 1997. This is one of the conclusions of Ernst & Young LLP's annual industry performance analysis, the results of which were released recently. The spending trend defies changes in other key industry tracking measures as well, says Ernst & Young. Industry-wide employment has declined 13% in 4 years, for example, with independents shedding a staggering 50% of their workers. These results are based on fi...

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