Crude prices remain well off the peak of 2014, but oil producers and companies relying on oil related revenues should not be written off just yet.
Rampant cost cutting and steps to improve operating performance means many such stocks deserve a second look.
Some names have already staged a major come back since early 2016 when Brent crude was trading at around the $30 per barrel mark.
Oilies fight back
While crude has experienced something of a recovery since the lows of 2016, with Brent crude futures currently at $56 per barrel, oil is still well off the $115 per barrel peak reached in the middle of 2014.
Against this backdrop, it´s incredible that some oil producers have managed to get their earnings back to 2014 levels.
Norway´s Statoil managed just such a feat, as aggressive cost cutting and rising production volumes enabled it to get second-quarter 2017 earnings back to the highs of 2014.
Despite the improvement, however, Statoil shares are still over 30% down on the peaks of 2014. This is despite the stock having rallied by around 20% this summer.
Shares in oil major Shell are only modestly short of their 2014 peak, having rallied by around 60% since the lows of early 2016.
Shell´s latest set of quarterly results beat analysts´ expectations, with second-quarter earnings rising by 245% versus the year-ago period.
Revenues for the second quarter of 2017 smashed forecasts, at $72.1bn versus expectations of $67.8bn.
Much of the improvement was put down to improved operational performance.
For instance, operating expenses were $9.5bn compared with $11.5bn in the same period of 2016.
At the same time, crude prices were also much improved versus the 2016 second quarter.
Perhaps what sets Shell apart from many of its rivals is the firm´s stark acknowledgment that oil prices may never return to the levels of 2014.
Faster pay back
US giant ExxonMobil reported a near doubling in earnings for the second quarter, though lagged analysts´ expectations. Both higher oil prices and improved refining margins versus 2016 boosted its bottom line.
In common with Shell, its total oil production was little changed versus the year-ago period.