Industry investment has remained at a low ebb ever since oil prices collapsed in the second half of 2014. The Middle East has proven a relative bright spot since then, but even there, NOCs have taken advantage of the downturn and margins have been squeezed.

Services firms have borne the brunt of the downturn, and even though prices have been relatively robust in recent years, many firms are still struggling with the price environment. Case in point is US contractor McDermott which despite picking up a swathe of high-profile contacts in the Middle East and elsewhere in recent months, filed for bankruptcy this week. (CONTINUED - 1111 WORDS)