Via Reuters, Barclays Bank reported Monday that exploration and production spending in North America will grow 7% year-over-year in 2014, up from 2% in 2013. The forecast for North America is slightly ahead that of the entire globe (6.1%). The bank noted that low natural gas prices in the U.S. held down capital spending on exploration and production during the past two years. According to Barclays’ survey, E&P companies are formulating their budgets around a benchmark U.S. natural gas price of $3.66 per British thermal unit (Btu). The price of natural gas fell below $2 per Btu in April 2012 but has slowly recovered since then.