In 2014, oil used to sell for more than $100 (£77) a barrel. Three years on it trades just below $50, at a level many in the industry - however shortsightedly - have termed the 'new normal'. While this constitutes an enormous lowering of explorers' profit expectations, the reset in prices hasn't rendered any one form of drilling entirely unprofitable. Even the prospect of expensive and technically challenging production in the Arctic - thought to have been extinguished by Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSB) failure in Alaska's Berger field - is back on the table, after Norway last month opened up 93 blocks in the Barents Sea area for exploration.
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