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The consultancy Wood Mackenzie predicts that oil industry investment this year in finding and assessing conventional new discoveries will slip again despite the improved price outlook.
One reason it matters: As global crude consumption keeps rising, some experts say that more robust industry investment in finding and developing conventional sources of oil will be needed to avoid a precarious supply situation in a few years, despite the rise of shale.
"Global investment in conventional exploration and appraisal will be around US$37 billion in 2018. This will be 7% less than 2017 spend of US$40 billion, and over 60% below its 2014 peak," Andrew Latham, a top analyst with the firm, said in a statement.
Go deeper: Reuters chatted with Latham and has a story on the report here, including this synopsis of his analysis which notes that the projected decline in exploration spending "masks a modest uptick in drilling activity as lower rig rates and a focused approach on well-charted basins allow firms to do more with their money." He predicts that "activity will be flat to higher."