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As the Energy & Resources industry entered 2008, common wisdom held that "As energy goes, so goes the economy." The sector's outlook for the year was positive: Crude oil prices were rising, boosted by constrained supply and increased energy demand among developed nations and emerging markets such as China and India. Oil and gas companies and power and utility companies were earmarking their improved cash flows and balance sheets for potential acquisitions and new capacity additions to build out their resource base, although in the interim, several large oil and gas companies invested in share buy-backs until solid investments emerged. Rising exploration, production and refining costs were a concern, but companies were addressing them by focusing on enhanced operational efficiency and demand-side management programs.
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