Baker Hughes sees recovery on the horizon

Company stumbled through much of the year as crude prices plummeted to historic lows.

By Daniel J. Graeber

HOUSTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Results for the third quarter were indicative of a market under pressure, though oilfield services company Baker Hughes said recovery was on the horizon.

The company, which was the target of a takeover bid by rival Halliburton at the depth of the market downturn early this year, said it took a $429 million net loss for the third quarter. That follows steep reductions in staffing, but marks an improvement over the $911 million loss during the previous quarter.


Chairman and CEO Martin Craighead said project delays and a reduction in activity in the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Norwegian operations were to blame for much of the declines for the third quarter.

"Looking ahead, in the fourth quarter of 2016 we expect activity in North America to modestly increase, as our customer community slowly begins to ramp up activity in what remains a tough pricing environment," he said in a statement.

Craighead's company provides weekly data on activity in the exploration and production side of the energy sector. Its weekly rig counts serve as a loose barometer for industry confidence, with gains suggesting confidence was returning to the market as crude oil prices hold around $50 per barrel.


Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield services company, said last week the oil market is in balance and recovery is on the way. The company last week reported revenue for the three months ending June 30 at $7.1 billion, a 10 percent increase from the previous period, but 20 percent below the same point from 2015.

Outside of North America, Baker Hughes said headwinds were persistent, but streamlining over the last six months meant the company had built a stronger foundation for forward momentum.

"I am pleased with our progress and, while we have more work ahead of us, I am confident that we have the right people, technology, and strategy to grow profitably and maximize return on invested capital," Craighead said.

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