Global upstream investment is to rise over the coming few years, according to a survey of the upstream industry by consultancy Wood Mackenzie, but the areas likely to see the most action are also the safest, it finds. Mergers and acquisitions and near-field drilling are the low-hanging fruit as producers’ optimism about crude prices pick up, it says, while other exploration work and anything deepwater remain further down their list of priorities and have to meet higher rates of return expectations.

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