Jan 31 (Reuters) - National Oilwell Varco Inc, the largest U.S. oilfield equipment provider, reported a better-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit, boosted by strength in its business that helps prepare oil and gas wells for production.
Revenue in the company's rig technology business, its biggest division, rose 14 percent and accounted for half of total revenue in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
National Oilwell Varco also said its backlog of equipment orders stood at a record $16.24 billion at the end of the year, up 7 percent from the end of the third quarter.
The company makes components for both land and offshore drilling rigs, including derricks and drilling machinery.
The rig technology business designs, manufactures, sells and services complete systems for the drilling, servicing and completion of oil and gas wells.
However, a slowdown in gas drilling activity in North America weighed on the unit's margins, which slipped to 21.1 in the fourth quarter from 21.3 percent in the third quarter and 22.4 percent a year earlier.
"As we enter 2014, we recognize that there remain headwinds facing us in the North American land market," Chief Executive Pete Miller said on Friday.
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