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Weatherford: The worst is over

Oil services company the latest to see recovery coming to the energy sector.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Weatherford: The worst is over
Weatherford International says there are early signs of balance returning to the energy market. Photo by Calin Tatu/Shutterstock

BAAR, Switzerland, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Even though it reported a steep loss for the third quarter, oilfield services company Weatherford International said the worst of the downturn was over.

The company, one of the larger ones servicing the exploration and production side of the energy sector, reported a net loss for the third quarter of $1.78 billion, compared with a second quarter loss of $565 billion.

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Last year, Weatherford closed six service facilities and 90 operating facilities in North America while at the same time completing its target of cutting payrolls by 14,000. Early this year, the company said a headcount reduction of up to 6,000 was possible.

Bernard Duroc-Danner, the company's top executive, said in a statement the results for the third quarter were indicative of a market that turned the corner as crude oil prices start to level off near the $50 per barrel range.

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"Given that the industry bottomed during the second quarter, the worst of the historical downturn is behind us, and the market is slowly turning," he said in a statement.

By region, Weatherford said North America was a standout as revenue increased from the second quarter by 12 percent. The company said that represents the first stages of a market recovery as companies there start to return to work because of the oil price rebound.

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Oil prices dipped below $30 per barrel earlier this year as supplies built up against weak global demand. Sentiments expressed by international market monitors on market dynamics suggest a level of balance was starting to emerge.

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Rival companies Baker Hughes and Schlumberger each said that, while markets were still under pressure, the outlook moving into the fourth quarter was positive.

"Leading market indicators continue to show a tightening of the global supply and demand balance, and we anticipate these trends will steadily accelerate," Duroc-Danner said.

Most of the decline for Weatherford was due to after-tax charges. In September, a tax manager and vice president in charge of taxes at Weatherford agreed to settle charges they were using deceptive accounting to better align results with expectations. Settling for $140 million, the company was forced to restate its financial statements three times in the one-year period ending 2012.

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