October 18, 2010 / 11:33 AM / 9 years ago

Halliburton profit up as onshore activity jumps

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Halliburton Co (HAL.N), the world’s second-largest oilfield services company, posted a jump in quarterly profit as a surge in onshore North American activity offset a drop in offshore business in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company said its North American business generated record revenue, benefiting from robust activity in shale gas fields and a shift in drilling to oil basins from natural gas as prices for crude oil firmed during the quarter.

That shift by producers to oil and other liquids from gas is likely to drive more growth in North America next year, Chief Executive Officer Dave Lesar said in a statement.

Gulf of Mexico activity has suffered because of the drilling freeze there after the massive oil spill resulting from BP’s (BP.L) blowout at its Macondo well in April. The U.S. lifted its ban last week.

Halliburton’s third-quarter net profit rose to $544 million, or 60 cents per share, from $262 million. or 29 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 30 percent to $4.67 billion, slightly above the $4.64 billion that analysts had forecast, with North America contributing $2.4 billion.

Excluding one-time items, Halliburton’s earnings per share of 58 cents topped the 56 cents that analysts on average had forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“(North America) drove all of the beat versus our expectations this quarter,” analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co Securities wrote in a research note.

Investors have been favoring Halliburton because of its exposure to the surprisingly buoyant U.S. drilling market. Its shares have jumped 30 percent since the company posted results in July, while those of larger rival Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N) are up by just 5 percent since it last reported.

Outside North America, activity was mixed, Halliburton said, with modest revenue increases in Latin America and the Middle East-Asia regions, but a decline in the Europe, Africa and former Soviet countries.

Schlumberger plans to release its quarterly results on Friday.

Shares of Halliburton were down 3.4 percent at $34.60 in trading before the market opened.

Reporting by Matt Daily, additional reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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