Halliburton tops Wall Street estimates as equipment remains fully booked

By Arunima Kumar and Liz Hampton

© Thomson Reuters
World Petroleum Congress in Houston, Texas

(Reuters) -U.S. oilfield services firm Halliburton Co on Tuesday topped Wall Street profit estimates for its fourth quarter and said its shale oil-well fracking equipment remains fully booked with oil prices driving increased drilling.

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The largest provider of hydraulic fracking services used to complete shale oil and gas wells maxed out on its North American fracking equipment and crews. The business last year was in a standoff with oil producers, not adding new equipment until customers agreed to pay higher fees.

Halliburton executives said on Tuesday they expect North America customer spending to grow by at least 15% this year, but warned its oil-well completions equipment remains fully contracted.

Pricing for its services has recovered, company executives said during a conference call, with operating income margins in its Completions and Productions division hitting 20.7%, the highest level since 2012.

It posted adjusted income of $656 million, or 72 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, topping the 67 cents per share estimate compiled by Refinitiv.

Fourth-quarter revenue was $5.58 billion, slightly exceeding Wall Street’s $5.57 billion estimate. For the full-year 2022, international revenue grew by 20% and North America revenue grew 51% compared with last year.

Halliburton also raised its first-quarter dividend by 33% to 16 cents per share.

Wall Street analysts said the results were positive, pointing to strong margins and focus on shareholder returns. Shares fell a fraction and were off less than 1% at $40.34.

Revenue in Halliburton’s North American division declined by 1% sequentially during the fourth quarter to $2.6 billion, driven primarily by weather-related disruptions in simulation and artificial lift.

Latin America revenue grew 12%, the largest jump across its geographical business units, to $945 million, driven by more pressure pumping in Argentina, activity in Mexico and well construction services in Colombia.

The company reported $366 million in impairments and other charges for 2022 due to the sale of its Russian business and the impairment of assets in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Alistair Bell)