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Oilfield Services Giants Signal Weaker U.S. Shale Drilling

Two of the world’s top three oilfield service providers, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, reported on Wednesday consensus-beating profits for the second quarter, but both signaled softer demand for drilling on the North American market.

Weaker North American performance was more than offset by stronger international businesses at both companies.

Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) reported adjusted net income for the second quarter of $691 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, higher than the analyst consensus in The Wall Street Journal, which had expected $0.75 per share earnings. The earnings were also more than 50% higher compared to the second quarter of 2022. 

Total revenues for Halliburton, the world’s top fracking services provider, rose by 14% year-over-year to $5.8 billion. However, revenues from North American operations dropped by 2% compared to the first quarter, to $2.7 billion.

“This decline was primarily driven by decreased stimulation activity in U.S. land, which was partially offset by increased artificial lift activity in U.S. land, and higher activity across multiple product service lines in the Gulf of Mexico,” Halliburton said.

The total rig count in the U.S. fell to 675 last week—81 rigs below this time last year, per Baker Hughes data published on Friday. The current count is 400 fewer rigs than the rig count at the beginning of 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Following the release of the results, Halliburton’s stock dropped by 2% at market open.

The other oilfield services giant, Baker Hughes (NASDAQ: BKR), also beat analyst expectations for the second-quarter earnings, but it also flagged a softer North American market.  

“Market softness in North America is expected to be more than offset by strength in international and offshore markets,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, Baker Hughes chairman and chief executive officer.

SLB, formerly Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield service provider, will report its second-quarter earnings before market open on Friday, July 21. 

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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