January 4 - According to a report in the Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch, investment bank Dahlman Rose & Co is predicting that global energy companies are expected to continue spending more for exploration and production this year, despite sluggish econ

The bank predicts that globally, capital spending will rise 9.3 percent to a record USD595 billion. The growth comes as oil and gas companies increase outlays to tap unconventional shale resources, as well as an increase in deepwater projects.

Capital spending is expected to grow for a third straight year in the USA, driven mostly by horizontal drilling for oil and liquids-rich gas. The projected 11 percent increase represents the largest growth expected for any region in 2012.

Integrated and international companies such as Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp and Total SAare investing substantial sums of money in US-based shale operations, while spending increases by smaller independents are seen as more modest.

In a second consecutive year of growth driven mostly by larger international oil companies, international exploration and production spending is forecast to increase nine percent.

The largest increases are by companies in Africa and Asia-Pacific, as well as major international oil companies and North American independents. Chevron, Total and BP PLC are expected to lead the growth in capital spending. The areas of slowest growth are seen in Russia, Latin America and Europe.

Dahlman Rose & Co is a privately owned investment bank focused on growth industries that are the direct beneficiaries of global trade, infrastructure development, and urbanisation.