A Wildcatter Could Really Learn To Love This Tubing

Prospecting for oil takes big bucks, but the costs don't lighten up once drilling begins. The steel tubing inside wells alone can run into millions. Not that oil companies have many choices: They can buy carbon-steel tubing, which must be replaced once a year or so, or they can choose stainless-steel piping, which should last for a well's productive life but costs an arm and a leg. Another option may soon be available, however: A Chicago startup called Inductametals Corp. says it has developed a metal coating that ensures long-lasting tubing for one-third the cost of stainless steel.

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