Hunting posts much smaller loss, boosted by U.S. shale demand

(Reuters) - Oilfield services company Hunting Plc HTG.L reported an 82 percent fall in first-half loss as U.S. shale companies drilled more wells, boosting demand for equipment and services.

U.S. shale companies have kept pumping oil even as crude prices hover around $50 a barrel, helped by cost cuts and higher efficiencies.

U.S. producers added about 231 oil rigs in the six months to June 30, a 44 percent jump, according to data from oil services firm Baker Hughes.

Hunting also said it expected modest improvement in international drilling activity in the second half of the year.

The company, which provides drilling and infrastructure support to oil explorers, said underlying loss from operations fell to $9.1 million in the six months ended June 30, from $50.8 mln a year earlier.

Revenue jumped 39.6 percent to $318.9 million (249.26 million pounds).

Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier