Low oil prices crimp deepwater drilling

Extended low oil prices are beginning to affect the one sector of the oil industry that had, until now, remained fairly robust: deepwater drilling. This is the conclusion of Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. (DCR), Chicago, which says that cuts in exploration and development budgets are beginning to result in the cancellation of some drilling contracts and delays for some deepwater projects. In addition, industry consolidation-particularly among major integrated oil companies and large independents-is likely to depress demand for deepwater rigs. "To date, the activity level associated with the deepwater drilling market has remained steady, as these projects tend to be long-...

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