Halliburton last week said it will add 2,000 US jobs in the first quarter and is ramping up activity faster than anticipated to try to match surging gas and oilfield activity, especially in the Texas Permian Basin.
In a rare operations update call, Halliburton Chairman/CEO Dave Lesar said the company is spending more money now to protect market share and ensure stronger profits in the future.
“We are coming off a historic trough, so what we have to add back is almost unprecedented,” Lesar said, warning its first-quarter earnings won’t be as strong as previously projected.
At the end of 2016, Halliburton had 50,000 employees after cutting 35,000 positions over two years of an oil price bust, Kallanish Energy reports.
Now, jobs are beginning to return and idled equipment is being reactivated. The rig count continues to rise, but because each drill rig can now drill more wells and each well can produce more oil, Halliburton president Jeff Miller compared current activity to that of 2014, the year before prices fell.
“Nine hundred (rigs) is the new 2,000,” he said.
Because oilfield activity is picking up faster than Halliburton anticipated, the company is losing some market share temporarily and spending more to maintain as much of that market share as possible.
Halliburton also is hurt by supply-chain price increases, like the rising cost of sand for fracking, while the company’s own services pricing hasn’t risen to match its growing costs.