OPEC's decision last week to maintain oil output at existing levels sent crude prices to nearly seven-year lows on Tuesday, raising the stakes for already hard-hit U.S. drillers.
But even with oil at new lows, a number of exploration and production companies saw their shares rise on Tuesday. Analysts said few oil drillers of significant size are expected to collapse in the face of current prices, but the day's buying offers clues about who the market believes will come out on top.
On Tuesday, U.S. crude settled at $37.51, its lowest close since Feb. 18, 2009. It fell as low as $36.64 during the session.