Halliburton swung to a loss as the world's largest fracking provider braces for more customer cutbacks during the worst crude market downturn since the 1980s.
Earnings from the US oilfield services group highlighted the wide variation in the impact of the oil price slump on industry activity around the world.
The company’s revenue in North America, which is its largest market, dropped 38 per cent to $10.9 billion (€10 billion) for 2015, while sales from the Middle East and Asia fell only 6 per cent, to $5.5 billion.
Underlying operating profits from North America plunged 86 per cent to $458 million, while earnings from the Middle East and Asia rose 9 per cent to $1.2 billion.
Halliburton reported a net loss of $666 million for 2015 from its continuing operations, compared with a profit of $3.4 billion for 2014, and warned of “another challenging year” ahead. Revenue for 2015 was down 28 per cent at $23.6 billion.
Halliburton’s earnings reflect how the slowdown in drilling and completing oil and gas wells has been much sharper in the US than in the Middle East.
Between September 2014 and the end of last year the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas dropped 63 per cent in the US to 714, but rose 8 per cent in the Middle East to 422, according to Baker Hughes.
The company’s full-year net loss included $2.2 billion of charges it identified as one-offs. Halliburton said in October it had cut about 18,000 jobs, or 21 per cent of its workforce, since the downturn began.
Halliburton also confirmed its commitment to completing the planned acquisition of Baker Hughes, a rival US oilfield services group, in spite of scrutiny from competition regulators including the US department of justice and the European Commission. The deal would bring together the world's second- and third-largest oilfield services providers. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016