Oil investors may regret urging companies to cough up cash now instead of investing in growth for later as the dearth of exploration is setting the stage for an unprecedented crude price spike, according to Sanford C Bernstein. Companies have been compelled to focus on boosting returns and shareholder distributions at the expense of capital expenditures aimed at finding new supplies, analysts including Neil Beveridge wrote in a note on Friday. That is causing reserves at major producers to fall and the industry’s reinvestment ratio to plunge to the lowest in a generation, paving the way for oil prices to surpass records reached last decade, according to Bernstein. "Investors who had egged on management teams to rein in capex and return cash will lament the underinvestment in the industry," the analysts wrote. "Any shortfall in supply will result in a super-spike in prices, potentially much larger than the $150 a barrel spike witnessed in 2008."

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.