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Oil Companies to Reopen Their Checkbooks as Brent Surpasses $70

  • Two-thirds of oil executives surveyed say they’re ‘confident’
  • Capital budgets, hiring and R&D spending seen rising in 2018
The Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery stands in Roxana, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, April 24, 2017. Phillip 66 released earnings figures on April 28.
Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

After more than three years of belt-tightening, a resurgence in crude prices has fueled oil-company optimism, and a readiness to reopen the checkbook.

More than two-thirds of 813 senior oil executives expect increased capital spending in 2018, double last year’s percentage, according to a survey by Norwegian consultants DNV GL. About a third say research and development budgets will rise, and the same number predict hiring will expand.