Halliburton Chief Sees Rebound in N.A. Drilling Activity

According to the head of oilfield services heavyweight Halliburton, the North American drilling market could rebound in 2010.

During Halliburton's conference call discussing fourth-quarter earnings, Chairman and Chief Executive Dave Lesar noted that 2010 will be a "much better" year, which will "require a sustained increase in natural gas drilling activity."

Lesar pointed out that U.S. natural gas storage levels -- which stood at 2.607 Tcf in the week to Jan. 15, representing a net decline of 245 Bcf from the previous week -- must exit this winter's heating season on track with historical levels.

Currently, domestic natural gas in storage is 1% higher than the previous year, but still less than the five-year average, according to EIA estimates.

On the international front, Lesar is less optimistic about oilfield services demand. "We're seeing out customers trying to remain flexible in their spending patterns, and they continue to focus on restraining oilfield services," he said.

Today, Halliburton posted full-year revenue of $14.7 billion for 2009, down 20% from the full year 2008.