Mexico, Iran and other countries that once played hardball with big oil companies are now rolling out the welcome mat, offering generous deals in the hope they will bring capital to stimulate output.
But it isn't certain the big oil firms will want to return to all those countries, as the economics of the oil business may be changing to favor different kinds of exploration projects elsewhere in the world, WSJ reports.
The biggest shake-up is coming in Mexico, where production has been falling steadily while rising electricity demand has forced dependency on imported natural gas and sent prices soaring; Total (TOT), Chesapeake (CHK) and Chevron (CVX) have expressed interest in entering the country.
Iran is considering big changes to its current stringent oil terms, but some analysts say "it will be a slow process to get Western oil companies back to Iran... Iran's reservoirs are prolific, but they are also complex and in poor shape."
Also, he Ukraine crisis has reinforced the trend in thinking about geopolitical risk as being a big factor.