Halliburton CEO Discusses Q4 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Halliburton (HAL)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

January 24, 2011 9:00 am ET

Executives

David Lesar - Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and Member of Policy Committee

Christian Garcia - Vice President of Investor Relations

Timothy Probert - President of Global Business Lines & Corporate Development and Member of Policy Committee

Mark McCollum - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Member of Policy Committee

Analysts

Daniel Boyd - Goldman Sachs

Kurt Hallead - RBC Capital Markets, LLC

John Anderson - JP Morgan Chase & Co

William Herbert - Simmons

Waqar Syed - Macquarie Research

Jeff Tillery - Tudor Pickering

Brad Handler - Crédit Suisse AG

Stephen Gengaro - Jefferies & Company, Inc.

James West - Barclays Capital

Ole Slorer - Morgan Stanley

Angie Sedita - UBS Investment Bank

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Halliburton's Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to your host today, Christian Garcia, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations. Please begin.

Christian Garcia

Good morning, and welcome to the Halliburton Fourth Quarter 2010 Conference Call. Today's call is being webcast, and a replay will be available on Halliburton's website for seven days. The press release announcing the fourth quarter results is available on the Halliburton website. Joining me today are Dave Lesar, CEO; Mark McCollum, CFO; and Tim Probert, President of Strategy and Corporate Development. In today's call, Dave will provide opening remarks, Mark will discuss our overall financial performance, and Tim will provide comments on our operations and business outlook. We will welcome questions after we complete our prepared remarks.

I would like to remind our audience that some of today's comments may include forward-looking statements, reflecting Halliburton's views about future events and their potential impact on performance. These matters involves risks and uncertainties that could impact operations and financial results and cause our actual results to differ from our forward-looking statements. These risks are discussed in Halliburton's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2010 and recent current reports on Form 8-K. Our comments include non-GAAP financial measures, reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are included in the press release announcing the fourth quarter results in our IR website. Dave?

David Lesar

Thank you, Christian, and good morning to everyone. Before discussing our fourth quarter results, let me begin by what I believe we accomplished in 2010. First, we strengthened our market leadership position by aligning our business to the industry's fastest-growing segments and deploying the full suite of our technical capabilities. We also commercialized key technologies like our ESTMZ [Enhanced Single-Trip Multizone] Completion System and GeoTap IDS that served to solve our customers challenges in their most complex projects. We also introduced our CleanSuite of technologies, including a first of its kind fracture fluid system, comprised of material sourced entirely from the food industry, setting a new standard for how unconventional resources can be accessed and produced in the future.

And lastly, we built infrastructure and secured key contract wins in Iraq, West Africa, Australia, Brazil, the North Sea and other places that are setting us up to benefit in the coming international cycle. Our 2010 total year results indicate the successful execution of our strategy, with total year revenue growth of 22% and operating income growth of 51% and market-leading returns of 15%. I believe we are in a great position for the opportunities and challenges we see in 2011.

Let me now turn to our fourth quarter results. Overall, I'm very pleased with our results in the fourth quarter where we experienced double-digit growth in both North America and our international operations. Revenue of $5.2 billion represented growth of 40% over the prior year and represents the highest quarterly revenue in the company's history. Operating income more than doubled, led by a fivefold increase in North America. On a sequential basis, all regions showed double-digit revenue and operating income growth except for Latin America where we continue to experience challenging conditions in Mexico.

Let me provide some detail now starting with North America. North America had another good quarter, with revenue and operating income increasing 10% sequentially, continuing to outpace the U.S. rig count of 4%. We historically see a moderation of our revenue per rig in the fourth quarter due to the effects of our holiday schedule and weather-related seasonality in the Rockies. However, the continued shift to oil plays with the unrelenting increase in completions intensity outweighed these seasonal impacts this year. In addition, we achieved this 10% sequential performance despite a significant reduction in revenues and operating income in our Gulf of Mexico business due to the completion of the Macondo relief well efforts where we provided most of the services.

And in fact, we lost money in our Gulf of Mexico operations in Q4. We continue to believe that the prospects for a recovery in the Gulf of Mexico will remain uncertain to the first half of 2011 and perhaps the full year. However, I do believe it's prudent that we maintain all of our infrastructure and most of our headcount in anticipation of a rebound in the Gulf. And I'll make a comment on that later.

In the fourth quarter, we continue to experience tightness and equipment shortages in basins that are undergoing rapid growth like the Eagle Ford and the Bakken. Average rig count in those two basins grew about 20% from Q3 to Q4, and discussions with operators indicate that the escalation in activities for these plays is not abating. Further, well complexity continues to rise within these plays, with lateral lengths that are now reaching beyond a mile. In fact, one operator has indicated that their future wells in the Eagle Ford will be drilled with an approximately 10,000-foot lateral, an increase from the current average length of 6,000 for that basin.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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