Halliburton Co.'s net income was flat in the second quarter as a slowdown in North American drilling offset an increase internationally.
The Houston oil and natural gas services firm on Monday reported net income of $737 million, or 79 cents per share, from April to June. That compared with $739 million, or 80 cents per share, for the same period of 2011. Revenue increased 22 percent to $7.23 billion.
Excluding charges from discontinued operations, Halliburton earned 80 cents per share in the quarter. Analysts, who typically exclude special charges, were expecting earnings of 75 cents on revenue of $6.93 billion, according to FactSet.
Halliburton provides a range of services for the petroleum industry. It helps them analyze underground oil and gas deposits, and it can rent them specialized equipment for drilling and maintaining underwater wells. Halliburton also is a major provider of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," services that unlock oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits.
Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar said the company benefited in the second quarter from an increase in overseas drilling projects. The number of rigs operating internationally rose by 3 percent in the quarter, and company revenues increased in Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
But the opposite was happening at home. Many petroleum companies cut back on drilling in North America following a plunge in U.S. natural gas prices. Rig activity declined 17 percent in North America, Lesar said, and that cut into contract revenues. Also, Lesar said profits declined in North America because of a shortage of guar gum — a material used in the fracking process. The shortage has driven guar gum prices higher this year, and that's hurt Halliburton's bottom line.
North America is Halliburton's biggest market, and profits there declined by 14 percent in the second quarter. They increased 83.7 percent everywhere else.
Shares rose by 17 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $30.60 per share in premarket trading.