Big push in oil-search gear

The American drive toward energy independence will create a $20 billion domestic market for oil and gas exploration equipment by 1995, says Predicasts Inc., a business information and market research firm. The study of the industry concludes that total shipments will grow more than fivefold, including an export market expected to top $13 billion.

Offshore drilling activity will increase at a faster pace than onshore as exploration of the Outer Continental Shelf intensifies and promising land tracts dwindle. Although cost per foot currently runs four to five times that of onshore drilling, technological developments -- including innovations for human safety as well as production efficiency -- will help contain offshore drilling costs.

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