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Oil rout puts smaller drillers at advantage as big players cut back

Smaller explorers are quick to use the opportunity of declining costs and increasing availability of rigs to gain ground

Stacked rigs are seen along with other idled oil drilling equipment at a depot in North Dakota, the US. Rig costs typically react to oil with a lag of about six months, so today's contracts reflect prices that sank to almost a seven-year low in January, forcing major producers to defer US$200 billion of 'megaprojects'.


CRUDE oil's plunge is leaving drilling rigs idle from Africa to Latin America as the world's biggest energy companies curtail spending and stall projects. Their smaller rivals are seizing the opportunity to gain ground.

Sound Oil Plc, a Mediterranean producer one-500th the