Though North America is responding quickly to higher oil prices, it's a global market and the rest of the world is still catching up, Halliburton's CEO said.
U.S. shale oil operations have proven more resilient to lower crude oil prices than initially expected, with early 2017 production estimates from the federal government reversing course to show expected gains for the year. While lower crude oil prices last year meant lower spending on exploration and production, the side of the energy sector serviced by companies like Halliburton, the company's CEO said Halliburton managed to navigate the downturn successfully.
"Despite the turbulent year for the energy industry, I am very pleased with our 2016 results," Dave Lesar said in a statement. "They show that we have executed in a challenging market."
Federal estimates show total U.S. oil production for 2017 should increase slightly to 9 million barrels per day and expand again by 3 percent the following year. A monthly market report from the International Energy Agency, meanwhile, said shale production activity has "improved in leaps and bounds."
Exploration and production figures show improved conditions across North America since late 2016, after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to trim output to balance the market.
Lesar said that, while, North America has turned the corner in terms of exploration and production, it's a global market where some parts of the world have yet to reach recovery mode.
"In the international markets, low commodity prices have stressed budgets and have impacted economics across deepwater and mature field markets, which led to decreased activity and pricing throughout 2016," he said.
For the fourth quarter, Halliburton reported a net loss, though revenue in North America improved to $1.8 billion. Middle East and Asian revenue was $1.1 billion. European and African operations for Halliburton yielded $676 million for the fourth quarter.
Lesar said it will likely be the latter half of 2017 before the rest of the market outside of the Western Hemisphere turns the corner.