Oil and gas drillers are on the verge of a worldwide spending spree not seen since 2013, teeing up a potential windfall for oilfield services companies, Morgan Stanley forecasts.
The bank believes a global upswell in capital spending on new fossil fuel production — one that will last for several years and is largely underappreciated — is just over the horizon. In Morgan Stanley's view, 2020 will be a year of synchronized growth in capital expenditures, and oilfield service firms will be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
This comes after oil giants and independent drillers slashed spending in 2015 and 2016 during an historic downturn in oil prices. The recovery has been relatively isolated to U.S. shale fields and a few international markets, but Morgan Stanley sees the rebound extending to many more parts of the world.
"Importantly, 2020 looks to be the first year the industry will experience material, synchronized capex growth since before the downturn," Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a new research note.
After rising just 5 percent from the trough in 2016, capital spending is poised to increase by about 15 percent through 2020, Morgan Stanley says. In 2022, expenditures on finding and developing new oil and gas assets will rise by about 30 percent from this year to roughly $583 billion, the bank forecasts.