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Oil price slump hammers firm
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China Oilfield Services Ltd, a unit of the nation's third-biggest oil producer, had its biggest decline in Hong Kong trading on concern the slump in crude prices may prompt companies to cut spending on drilling.

The shares fell 15.9 percent, the steepest decline since March 20, to HK$4.92 (US$ 0.63). The stock earlier dropped as much as 26 percent. The key Hang Seng Index lost 4.8 percent yesterday.

Benchmark crude oil prices in New York fell for a third day, taking its decline from the July record to more than 50 percent, after a global stock plunge heightened concern bank bailouts won't prevent a recession. Crude oil for November delivery fell 2.6 percent to US$72.58 a barrel in electronic trade at 4:09pm Singapore time. "Crude prices have been dropping substantially, which will slow down the development of upstream exploration," Kenny Tang, research director at Tung Tai Securities Ltd, told Bloomberg News by telephone.

Oilfield agreed to buy Norway's Awilco Offshore ASA for 12.7 billion krone (US$1.9 billion) to increase its rig fleet by 47 percent, the company said on July 7.

(Shanghai Daily October 17, 2008)

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