Halliburton 3Q profit up on natural gas drilling

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2010 8:17 AM
Halliburton 3Q profit up on natural gas drilling

Halliburton Co. said Monday its net income more than doubled in the third quarter as vigorous drilling for natural gas onshore in the U.S. offset sluggish activity just about everywhere else.

Halliburton, which provides a variety of services to the oil and gas industry, reported earnings of $544 million, or 60 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with $262 million, or 29 cents per share, for the same period last year.

Revenue also increased 30 percent to $4.67 billion. Wall Street was expecting earnings of 56 cents per share on revenue of $4.78 billion.

Halliburton, based in Houston, is the first major oil services company to report third-quarter earnings. The results show how a surge in drilling for natural gas in huge deposits of shale rock formations in the Northeast and Southwest is making up for a loss of business in the offshore Gulf of Mexico, the company said. The government shut down deep water exploration for months following the BP oil spill and created new rules that stalled numerous drilling projects.

Dave Lesar, Halliburton's CEO, said the "unique strength of North America" drilling propped up the company's financial results in the quarter.

Halliburton said its global operation declined during the quarter everywhere except in North America. In North America, completion and production income soared to $458 million from $14 million in the year-ago quarter. Drilling and evaluation income jumped to $115 million from $32 million in the same period.

Shares fell 93 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $34.89 in pre-market trading.