The expansion of oil and natural gas drilling in North America continued to drive Halliburton Co. as its earnings jumped by nearly 54 percent in the second quarter. Revenue also hit a company record for the period.
The Houston oil services company on Monday kicked off earnings season for the industry with reported earnings of $739 million, or 80 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $480 million, or 53 cents per share, for the same part of 2010. Revenue increased 35.2 percent to $5.94 billion.
Excluding employee-separation costs, quarterly earnings were 81 cents per share.
The results beat Wall Street earnings expectations of 73 cents per share on revenue of $5.64 billion, according to FactSet.
The oil industry has benefited greatly this year as crude prices hit three-year highs. Companies aggressively scoured the planet for new sources of crude, which averaged $102.34 per barrel in the second quarter. One region that received intense interest is North America, which holds vast underground rock formations that are rich in oil and gas.
Halliburton specializes in tapping those formations, and the surge in activity has boosted its financial results so far this year. Halliburton said that revenue grew 16 percent in North America and 8 percent internationally in the second quarter on a sequential basis.
CEO Dave Lesar said petroleum companies have focused much of their efforts on developing fields in the United States, but he sees "increasing interest" in similar underground fields in Europe.
Lesar said that growing energy demand around the world will continue to drive Halliburton's business.
The company said completion and production revenue increased 14 percent to $3.6 billion from the first quarter while its drilling and evaluation business rose 10 percent to $2.3 billion.