NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The price of a barrel of Nymex crude oil may be down 6% so far in 2015, but oil may soon confirm its March 18 low of $42.03 as the technical bottom on its weekly chart. Meanwhile, oil and gas drilling and exploration companies are suffering: Diamond Offshore (DO - Get Report) is down 27% year to date, Noble Corp (NE - Get Report) is down 13% and Transocean (RIG - Get Report) has slumped 20%. Drilling and servicing company Tidewater (TDW - Get Report) has been pummeled by 41% so far in 2015.

Let's look at the year-to-date volatility, and the potential bottoming patterns for these oil and gas drillers.

  • Diamond Offshore closed April 1 at $26.95 and set a multiyear intraday low of $26.12 on March 27. The stock is just 3.1% above this low with crude oil 16% above its March 18 low of $42.03.
  • Noble Corp closed April 1 at $14.45 and set a multiyear intraday low of $13.15 on March 16. The stock is 9% above this low.
  • Transocean closed April 1 at $14.72 and set a multiyear intraday low of $13.28 on March 16. The stock is 9.8% above this low.
  • Tidewater closed April 1 at $19.30 and set a multiyear intraday low of $18.84 on March 31. The stock is just 2.4% above this low.

Investors not familiar with technical analysis should begin with the notion that a price chart for a stock shows a road map of past price performance, which provides guidance for predicting future share price direction.

Here's how to read a weekly chart. This chart shows weekly price bars going back to the beginning of 2009, when the current bull market for stocks began. The red line tracks the ups and downs of the key weekly moving average. The green line is the 200-week simple moving average. The red line that oscillates along the bottom of the chart is the momentum reading on a scale of 00.00 to 100.00. A reading below 20.00 is oversold and a reading above 80.00 is overbought.

A technically positive weekly chart occurs when a stock ends a week above its key weekly moving average with the momentum reading rising above 20.00.

A technically negative weekly chart occurs when a stock ends a week below its key weekly moving average with the momentum reading declining below 80.00.

Let's look at the weekly chart for crude oil. Note that all four oil and gas drillers are below their post-bubble lows, while oil is not.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

In addition to the technical parameters mentioned above, the chart shows the Fibonacci retracement levels from the popped crude oil bubble as oil plunged 77% from its all-time high of $147.27 per barrel in July 2008 to the low of $33.20 set in Jan. 2009.

If the weekly chart for oil shifts to positive, the initial upside is to the 23.6% retracement of $60.11 per barrel. Note that the 200-week simple moving average is just above the 50% retracement at $91.44.

The weekly chart shifts to positive given a close for oil this week above its key weekly moving average at $49.56. The momentum reading is already rising above 20.00 at 35.59 up from 27.83 last week.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The weekly chart for Diamond Offshore is negative but oversold, with the stock below its key weekly moving average at $29.27. The stock has a momentum reading of 13.48 -- well below the oversold threshold of 20.00.

Investors looking to buy Diamond Offshore should place a good-until-canceled limit order to purchase the stock if it drops to $23.59, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of June.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The weekly chart for Noble Corp is negative, with the stock below its key weekly moving average at $15.34. The stock has a momentum reading of 20.79, down from 23.35 last week. The stock will likely be oversold next week.

Investors looking to buy Noble should place a good-until-canceled limit order to purchase the stock if it drops to $12.44, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of June.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The weekly chart for Transocean is negative but oversold, with the stock below its key weekly moving average at $15.66. The stock has a momentum reading of 18.46, up from 17.83 last week but still oversold. The weekly chart will become positive given a close this week above $15.66.

Investors looking to buy Transocean should do so if the stock has the positive weekly close mentioned above.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The weekly chart for Tidewater is negative but oversold, with the stock below its key weekly moving average at $24.06. The stock has a momentum reading of 4.97, significantly below the oversold threshold of 20.00.

Investors looking to buy Tidewater should place a good till canceled limit order to purchase the stock if it drops to $16.25, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of April.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.