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Independents to lead oil recovery, forecast says

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Independent oil and gas drillers will lead the industry out of survival and into expansion mode in 2017, according to report from an energy research firm.

Over the course of the two-year downturn, oil and gas companies have cut operating expenses in half, paid off debt and increased cash flow, Wood Mackenzie said. Most will make money in 2017 for the first time since the downturn, according to the report – if oil prices hold above $55 a barrel.

Oil was trading at about $53 a barrel on Friday.

Independent exploration and production companies operating in the lower 48 states will respond first to rising prices because they have three competitive advantages, Wood Mackenzie said: access to capital, land where extraction costs are low, and the ability to scale back spending if prices dip.

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Written by David Hunn at The Houston Chronicle

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