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Oil Companies at Last See Path to Profits After Painful Spell

ABERDEEN, Scotland — This port city built of granite on the North Sea has taken a battering in recent years. Plunging oil prices hit the petroleum industry, which dominates the economy. Tens of thousands of jobs were slashed. Projects worth billions of dollars were sent back to the drawing board. Oil executives here now speak with a relief similar to survivors of a fierce storm. When oil prices fell, the industry scrambled to adjust. It initially relied on tried-and-true tactics: cutting jobs and investment. But then companies realized they had to go further, starting a far-reaching reworking of their businesses to embrace new technologies and construction methods to stretch each dollar just a little more. The result has been drastically lower operating costs and higher cash flows. Learning to live in a weaker oil price environment gives them upside if prices firm up. This shift was borne out in recent days as major oil companies, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shelland Total, reported much healthier results. FULL ARTICLE

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