Helmerich & Payne Optimistic on U.S. Drilling Despite Gas Prices

Tulsa-based drilling contractor Helmerich & Payne remains bullish on the U.S. land drilling market despite weakness in U.S. natural gas prices, the company reported Tuesday.

The company reported strong first quarter earnings, including an all-time record level from income from continuing operations, and reached best ever levels for revenue and rig activity during the recent quarter, President and CEO Hans Helmerich noted.

"While we expect some moderation in this record breaking pace in the upcoming March quarter, we are gratified for the strong start for our 2012 fiscal year," Helmerich commented.

"Even with uncertainty surrounding slumping natural gas prices and the anticipated softening in dry gas directed drilling in the U.S., we remain upbeat that our business model of providing premium drilling services will continue to prosper in 2012."

Helmerich & Payne reported income from continuing operations of $144.2 million from operating revenues of $732.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to income from continuing operations of $104.3 million from operating revenues of $594.6 million during the first fiscal quarter of 2011 and income from continuing operations of $121.5 million from operating revenues of $700.7 million during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011.

The company also has entered agreements with two exploration and production companies to build and operate three additional FlexRigs in the U.S. Helmerich & Payne will have 287 FlexRigs once these newbuild rigs are completed.

Continued weakness in U.S. gas prices has prompted several U.S.-based producers, including Chesapeake Energy and Comstock Resources, to refocus their drilling efforts away from gas towards oil.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com


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Andy Goddeyne | Jan. 31, 2012
After being in the gas and oil business for 33 yrs., and a short 3 year hitch with H & P. I'm proud to say I was lucky enough to work for the safest, best trained outfit in the world. CONGRATS H & P !

randy pearson | Jan. 31, 2012
I think H&P and other industry experts know as much if not more than someone like Chesapeake. Big deal makers like Chesapeake haven't been around long enough to muster the expert analyses of what is and isn't good or right about the industry. They haven't been around long enough to garner the respect I think they get. They have their share of hard working people but they have a few who have just come along for the ride. They showed up on the scene quick and I say they end up gone before your H&P or Devons. Besides a lot of people have been moving from gas to oil, just look at the prices. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where the money is. South Texas and North Dakota are prime examples of what is going on. The money is in liquids. Nat gas may come back around but not today. Besides all of this is just an opinion and who is to say when someone goes from average Joe to an industry expert.

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