LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The recent drop in oil prices has slashed the values of oil and gas firms and sparked renewed appetite for mergers and acquisitions, posing a dilemma for oil companies who may be keen to pick up bargains but are also under pressure to cut costs.
Halliburton Co's $35 billion move this week to acquire rival oil field service firm Baker Hughes Inc illustrates the opportunities.
BP's chief financial officer Brian Gilvary last month said that "with the softening of the oil prices...there are as many buying opportunities as there are selling opportunities."
The world's biggest traded oil companies are in the midst of a cost-cutting drive to boost cash flows and profits. As shown in the graphic, their ability to raise funds for new deals varies significantly.
Graphic of debt to equity ratios for major oil firms: link.reuters.com/nyt43w (Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Michael Urquhart)