Profits tumble, drilling rises

Halliburton’s third-quarter results Friday gave the first concrete evidence that the oil industry may have bottomed out as profits plunged but drilling activity in the critical region of North America grew.

NEW YORK — Halliburton’s third-quarter results Friday gave the first concrete evidence that the oil industry may have bottomed out as profits plunged but drilling activity in the critical region of North America grew.

“This is not going to be as hard a downturn as we thought a quarter or so ago,” said Dave Lesar, Halliburton’s chairman, president and CEO.

Halliburton shares closed at US$30.40 on the New York Stock Exchange after hitting a 52-week high of $31.27.

Service companies like Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL)and Schlumberger Ltd. have been squeezed by major oil and gas producers, who demanded lower fees as energy prices collapsed starting in July 2008.

Those conditions remain but for the first time this year, Halliburton says its revenue rose as operations picked up in the U.S. and Canada.

Halliburton is still relying on international clients for the bulk of its income, Lesar said.

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