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Halliburton: Our strategy is working

Company paid more than $3 billion in fees tied to failed merger with Baker Hughes.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Halliburton: Our strategy is working
Oilfield services company Halliburton said a strategy to navigate the weakened energy market is working effectively. File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

HOUSTON, July 20 (UPI) -- Despite paying billions of dollars after a failed merger effort with a rival, oilfield services company Halliburton said its strategy is working.

Halliburton Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar said the North American energy market has turned the corner following several quarters of weak activity brought on by lower crude oil prices.

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"We expect to see a modest uptick in rig count during the second half of the year," he said in a statement.

Lower crude oil prices, which plummeted below $30 per barrel early this year, left energy companies with less capital to invest in exploration and production, a trend reflected in part by rig counts. With oil prices holding around $45 per barrel for much of the second quarter, the sector is recovering somewhat. Last week, Baker Hughes reported an increase in U.S. rig activity for the third week in a row.

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A merger proposed in late 2014 between Baker Hughes and Halliburton was terminated in late April after the U.S. Justice Department said the combination of the two companies would be unprecedented in its "scope of competitive overlaps and antitrust issues."

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Halliburton said Wednesday it paid a $3.5 billion termination fee in conjunction with the failed merger. For North American revenue alone, Halliburton said full revenue declined 15 percent, which it said was a positive figure given that the average rig count dropped 23 percent.

In the Middle East, second quarter revenue was down 1 percent against a 4 percent decline in rig activity.

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Halliburton said the revenue stream when balanced against trends in rig activity suggested confidence was returning to the energy sector.

"Our activity outlook has not changed and our strategy is working," Lesar said.

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