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Halliburton's Road Map for the Future of Oil

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Halliburton's (HAL - Get Report) second-quarter results have provided some insights into the major themes of oil going forward and some of the huge opportunities in the oil services companies.

So, let's take a quick look at this multi-national, diverse mega-cap driller's results and see what they say.

Halliburton is very diverse and involved in all aspects of oil, natural gas and liquids development and extraction. But the oil services world tends to lump its products and services into two broad categories: Drilling and Evaluation, the pre-extraction phases of a well's life, and Completion and Production, which involves the actual extraction and continuing servicing of a producing project.

In addition, Halliburton separates its operations in both of these areas that occur in North America and Internationally. By referring to these four categories of operations, we get a strong indication of where much of the profitability the company currently enjoys is coming from, but maybe more importantly, where it might come from in the future.

To cut to the chase, Halliburton's are up, and some would think spectacularly so. From a consensus earnings estimate of $0.73 a share, Halliburton reported earning $0.81 a share, an already nice beat. But it was where all that money was earned that told the most important story, not just for Halliburton, but for the oil services sector going forward.

>>For upcoming earnings and estimates, see our Earnings Calendar.

That's because much of the earnings beat came from North American operations, where the margins -- a quick measure of profitability -- were up 29%, while International margins were only up a bit less than 10%. This is a clear indication that "alternative" drilling methods, including the environmentally controversial horizontal drilling technologies are largely driving the growth and future profitability of oil services companies - not just Halliburton.

It is also clear that new finds in North America that were originally focused for natural gas are being reassessed quickly and aggressively for crude oil and liquids, where not only is there less pushback from environmental groups, but where there are far more compelling product prices.
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