Halliburton profit up 20 percent on higher U.S. drilling activity

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Halliburton 2Q earnings match estimates

Earnings HQ: FBN's Lori Rothman breaks down Halliburton's second-quarter earnings report.

Halliburton Co <HAL.N>, the world's No.2 oilfield services provider, reported a better-than-expected 10 percent rise in quarterly revenue, signaling an industry-wide recovery in the region after a two-year slump.

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Halliburton's shares rose 1.5 percent in trading before the bell, after the company also raised its share repurchase program to $6 billion from $5 billion.

The company said it would move the role of president to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Miller from Chief Executive David Lesar, effective Aug. 1. [ID:nBwbcD8ta]

As drillers in North America shied away from natural gas basins due to weak prices for the fuel, Halliburton and rivals Schlumberger Ltd <SLB.N> and Baker Hughes Inc <BHI.N> had been competing for a dwindling number of contracts.

However, a recent recovery in natural gas prices has led to a pick up in drilling activity, and that helped Schlumberger and Baker Hughes report better-than-expected quarterly profits last week.

Halliburton, which has traditionally been dominant in North America, said it was speeding up additions to its hydraulic fracturing fleet and logistics capabilities in the region, with new crews available for service beginning later this year.

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As drilling wells become more complicated, bringing them online and keeping them producing have become a bigger part of the business, driving up demand for oilfield services.

Halliburton's revenue from North America rose 11 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter, while operating income rose 31 percent sequentially.

That rise was stronger than 9 percent sequential rise in revenue and 26 percent rise in operating income from the Eastern Hemisphere, where the company has been moving to combat the weakness in North America.

Net income attributable to Halliburton in the quarter rose 20 percent to $774 million, or 91 cents per share, from a year earlier. That was in line with Wall Street's expectations.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $8.05 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $7.88 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's shares closed at $70.93 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.