Houston-based oilfield service giants Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes are preparing for a further downturn in 2016, with thousands more redundancies planned although a recovery is slated for 2017. Despite seeing their profits plunge in 2015 on the back of oil prices that hit 11-year lows in December, record activity in the Middle East has seen the region’s share of the companies’ earnings grow (see table).

The knock-on effect of falling oil prices, which began in mid-2014, was more noticeable in the beginning of 2015, with international oil companies (IOCs) able to delay making immediate cuts to capex. (CONTINUED - 800 WORDS)