Which Company Is Expected to Spend More on Oil Than ExxonMobil?

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For the first time since the 1980s, Chinese oil company PetroChina is expected to outspend Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), according to data collected by analysts at Barclay’s.

Spending for oil companies worldwide is expected to skyrocket this year. Barclay’s estimated oil companies will spend $678 billion globally in 2013. That figure is up 10 percent from last year. Most of the money will be used for expanding international markets.

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PetroChina is expected to spend $36.6 billion in the next year, coming out ahead of Exxon Mobil’s expected $33.9 billion. The companies’ actual spending will likely exceed the estimates, as Barclay’s only underestimated oil spending once. That mistake occurred in 2010 after the Deep Water Horizon accident that put a freeze on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil companies’ spending has continued to grow while oil production shrinks, meaning oil companies have to spend more money for every drop of gasoline they produce with each passing year. Oil companies are also increasingly dependent on drilling in remote offshore locations in inhospitable places like the Arctic, circumstances that make drilling even more expensive than its been in the past. “The era of easy oil is over,” Barclay’s said.

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