Barclays estimates that outside North America specifically, E&P spending is seen increasing by 12% in 2011 to $363.3 billion, pushed by higher spending levels from the integrated oil majors.
Meanwhile, the oil service firms like Halliburton and
(SLB - Get Report)
are trading at or near 52-week high levels, as are
(CVX - Get Report)
(XOM - Get Report)
. Halliburton, for one, hit another 52-week high on Tuesday.
Exxon is up 18% in the past three months, while BP shares have risen 15% during the same period.
So is BP merely benefiting from the general uplift in oil stocks, and given the oil spill liabilities, can't rise any higher? Or should BP be right back where it was before the Macondo well ruptured?
After all, BP was a $60 stock on the day before the oil spill crisis unfolded.
Anadarko Petroleum shares have rebounded by 50% since their oil spill low; rig operator
(RIG - Get Report)
shares have rebounded by 43%. Halliburton's Tuesday 52-week high equalled a 50% rise in share value since its oil spill low.
BP shares are slightly behind on the oil spill comeback trail, up roughly 40% from the $26.75 low water mark.
Meanwhile, the price of crude oil isn't just flirting with the $90 level; many oil industry experts are predicting that oil will easily top $100 in 2011.
So will 2010's biggest market villain be the comeback stock of the year in 2011? Will the sun shine on BP's global energy empire in 2011, or is BP just as likely to throttle investors with a larger-than-expected oil spill price tag, before all is said and done in the multi-year process of dealing with the disaster's aftermath?
Indeed, it all raises the simple investor question, especially for those who didn't buy BP at $26.75 and already cash out of that easy (and for a tree hugger, morally fraught) pay day:
Where will BP shares trade in 2011?
Take our poll below, to see what
-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.
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