Oilfield service companies are perhaps faster, leaner and more efficient than they’ve ever been—and it’s killing them.

Veteran executives and observers don’t mince words. Debt-laden service compa­nies are “holding ticking time bombs.” Some are adopting capital austerity budgets. In a crowded group of companies, most don’t have the leverage to negotiate good rates with their upstream customers.

And time is slipping away.

“There are a number of players in our space with a lot of debt, probably not great pros­pects. I do think you will see more restruc­turing,” Liberty Oilfield Services CEO Chris Wright told Oil and Gas Investor.

The services industry is a world turned up­side down. That some companies won’t sur­vive may be a given. But the sentiment among industry leaders is that for the sector to thrive, the best-case isn’t whether companies will fail—but if enough will.

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