Nabors Industries (NBR)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 26, 2011 11:00 am ET


Eugene M. Isenberg - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Executive Committee

Joseph Hudson - President of U.S. Land Drilling Business

R. Clark Wood - Principal Financial & Accounting Officer and Controller

Dennis A. Smith - Director of Corporate Development for Nabors Corporate Services Inc


Ole H. Slorer - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Geoff Kieburtz - Weeden & Co., LP, Research Division

Jeff Tillery - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division

Robin E. Shoemaker - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Marshall Adkins - Raymond James & Associates

John M. Daniel - Simmons & Company International, Research Division

Scott Gruber - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

J. Marshall Adkins - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Kevin Simpson - Miller Tabak + Co., LLC, Research Division



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Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Nabors Industries' Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] This conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Dennis Smith, Director of Corporate Development. Please go ahead, sir.

Dennis A. Smith

Thank you, Alicia. And good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us this morning. In addition to myself, Gene is here and will give 20, 30 minutes of prepared remarks, and by which we'll follow with a question-and-answer session and try and wrap up in 1 hour or so. Tony Petrello, our President and Chief Operating Officer is also here; as is Laura Doerre, our General Counsel; Clark Wood, our Principal Accounting Officer. And I think everyone of our unit heads is here at the table as well this morning.

Well, I just want to remind everybody that we're going to be discussing not only quarter results, but how we see our best estimates and how we see the near term and longer term going forward. And of course, those constitute forward-looking statements as defined by the SEC and are subject to a lot of risks and uncertainties going forward. And I would encourage you to refer to our filings for identifications of those factors.

And with that, I will turn it over to Gene to go ahead and get started.

Eugene M. Isenberg

Thanks. Again, welcome, everybody, to the conference call for the third quarter of 2011. I want to thank everybody for participating again. Thank you again for participating this morning. As usual, we have posted to the Nabors' website a series of slides that contain details about the performance of the various segments of the company, and you may care to go through that as you listen to the call.

Nabors had a very solid third quarter driven primarily by very good results in almost every one of our business units. Land Drilling in U.S. and Canada, Well-servicing operations, Pressure Pumping, almost everything, Canrig, everything was performing on our '12. These results more than offset the seasonal decline in Alaska and left then stellar performance in our International operations.

The largest sequential increase in operating income came from the seasonal rebound in our Canadian operations, which improved by approximately $24 million. This was particularly noteworthy since Canada got off to a slow start due to weather-related issues. This should serve as a good indicator of the performance we expect as we enter the winter drilling season.

Results in our Pressure Pumping operations were up by more than $20-odd million in the quarter as weather issues and delays in equipment arrival and also gearing up with manpower to work the equipment before the cash flow actually incurred have more or less been incorporated in or behind us. We also are beginning to realize the impact of the increased capacity we have been deploying ever since this unit was acquired.

Our financial position remains strong, and our access to low-cost capital remains good, as evidenced by the mid-quarter placement of $700 million in 10-year notes at just a little over 4.6%. The proceeds from this placement were applied to the money we had pulled down on our revolver. We are decommissioning a number of rigs which we have deemed to be no longer functional or economically viable for current market operations. All these, I think, are noise, and therefore, I would consider the economic impact as anything significant. However, we're putting down, retiring 100-odd rigs in the U.S. Half of this have really not even worked in recent memory, and only 7 of these were SCR rigs.

In Well-servicing, we are retiring 84 rigs and 60-odd trucks, some of which are being -- some of which were never actively -- very actively marketing recently. Another 13 rigs are being retired in Nabors International, including one rig mat-supported jackup. The impact of all these is about $100 million of write-downs, which I suggest, again, we ignore. Which was were -- these write-downs were partially offset by about $40-plus million worth of noncash asset gains that accounting requires from acquisitions.

Before I turn to the units, let me give my overall thoughts on the big picture as it affects our sector, and in particular, our stock. While we recognize there is a risk of slowdown in customer spending, in other words, we can't control the macro-situation, even in spite of that, I remain very, very comfortable and confident even in the short term. This confidence stems from a number of term contracts we have in our U.S. Land Drilling fleet and term contracts in our Pressure Pumping operations and the fact that 75% of our current income stems from oil, which is deeper and less likely to be volatile for the foreseeable future.

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