Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The performance for drilling services company Baker Hughes was mixed and the market was still uncertain, despite a hike in oil prices, its CEO said Wednesday.
Baker Hughes, now a company under the General Electric umbrella, reported fourth quarter revenue of $5.8 million, an increase of 7 percent from the third quarter, but down 3 percent year-over-year. The company said all of its business segments grew from the third quarter "despite a declining rig count within the quarter."
Baker Hughes publishes a weekly count of rig activity globally and the figures serve as a loose gauge for confidence in the exploration and production, or upstream, side of the energy sector. Drilling services companies were hit hard by a market downturn that reversed course last year, but rig counts so far this year have not kept pace with the surge in crude oil prices.
"We secured important customer wins in a market environment that continues to be uncertain," Lorenzo Simonelli, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
By business segment, the company said all of its North American product lines improved as the shale oil sector responds positively to the oil price recovery, but rig activity wasn't keeping up. In the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, rig numbers improved, while the Middle East saw relative stability, with growth in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates offsetting declines elsewhere in the region.
Rival oilfield services company Halliburton also posted mixed results for the fourth quarter on Tuesday, taking an $805 million loss. President and CEO Jeff Miller said last year was a "dynamic year" for the oil and gas sector, but 2018 so far was supporting an increase in activity in North America.
For Baker Hughes, the company said growing sectors like liquefied natural gas could lead to increased activity in the coming years and signs so far this year were encouraging, though offshore work was still under pressure.
"International activity is stabilizing, and we are seeing signs of activity increase both in the volume and size of tenders for new work as customers feel more confident about their operating costs and commodity price stability," Simonelli said.
Halliburton made an unsuccessful takeover bid for rival Baker Hughes last year before the latter joined up with GE. In July, Halliburton acquired Summit ESP, identified as a leader in pumping technology and services.