OPINION: The sustained higher oil prices and heightened energy security concerns of the past year have been a shot in the arm for oil and gas exploration and the liquefied natural gas industry.

No surprise, then, that the big US oilfield service companies reporting quarterly earnings this week — Baker Hughes, SLB and Halliburton — all finished the year on a positive note, with their respective chief executives bullish on the outlook for quarters to come.

Baker Hughes racked up $8 billion in orders and revenue of nearly $6 billion for the fourth quarter, ending the year with what chief executive Lorenzo Simonelli called “solid momentum”.