DRILLING MARKET FOCUS: Drillers cautiously optimistic about climbing oil prices

Drilling contractors expressed cautious optimism early this year upon strengthening oil prices while many exploration and drilling companies announced 2010 budgets calling for more exploration and development than in 2009.At least a few independent natural gas producers said they are leaning toward putting more rigs to work drilling for oil because of the gap between oil and gas prices in late 2009 and early 2010.Transocean Ltd. has a 3-year contract for its deepwater semisubmersible rig GSF Celtic Sea. The contract, worth an estimated $350 million, is with an undisclosed customer for operations in Angola starting in second quarter 2011. Photo from Transocean.In a Jan. 11 research note, R...

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