That's good news for investors, who can look for companies willing to adjust their corporate strategy and be more efficient. It also could bring more mergers as the industry consolidates.
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Energy executives already are being forced to do things differently. The refiner Tesoro (TSO) , for example, is considering reviving a shut reformer at its Golden Eagle plant in California to help meet growing global petrochemical demand for condensates such as xylene, which is seeing greater usage to fabricate polyester fibers.
Another example is Denbury Resources (DNR) , a carbon dioxide-enhanced oil recovery leader that is getting back to its roots. The company has recently announced it will create innovation teams reporting directly to the CEO in order to improve operational results and increase shareholder value.
Then there's the M&A factor. Most energy companies have seen their market caps plunge in reaction to the selloff in oil prices. That's likely to drive more deals as companies seek to add production and bring value to depressed assets. Investors already are looking at Talisman Energy (TLM) as a takeover play, possibly by Repsol (REPYY) .