Oil services outlook tied to upstream spending, improved fundamentals

The outlook for the worldwide oil and gas service sector is brightening.Moody's Investors Service has given oil field service companies a generally "stable-to-positive" rating, based on several factors, including improving industry fundamentals. The primary driver of the industry's recovery from its 1998-99 cyclical trough has been a significant rise in North American natural gas drilling activity, spurred by high reserve depletion rates and strong demand.Improved discipline by service companies and contract drillers in expanding their operations during cyclical peaks has also led to better control of costs as well as financial leverage during downturns. Although labor and equipme...

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