Two giant, rival oilfield services players – Baker Hughes & Schlumberger – closed the year 2021 on a positive note, recording improvements in their financial performances during the last quarter of the year with expectations for favourable market conditions in the year ahead.

In its report on Thursday, Baker Hughes said it had booked orders of $6.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021, up 24 per cent sequentially and up 28 per cent year-over-year. Both sequential and year-over-year increase was the result of higher order intake in Turbomachinery & Process Solutions, Digital Solutions, and Oilfield Services, partially offset by lower orders in Oilfield Equipment.

The company’s revenues in 4Q 2021 were $5.5 billion, up 8 per cent sequentially when its revenues were $5.1 billion and flat year-over-year. The increase was driven by higher volume across all four segments.

Adjusted net income attributable to Baker Hughes in 4Q 2021 totalled $224 million compared to $141 million in 3Q 2021 and compared to a loss of $50 million in 4Q 2020.

Lorenzo Simonelli, Baker Hughes chairman and CEO, commented: “Overall, 2021 proved to be successful on many fronts for Baker Hughes, with key commercial successes and developments in the LNG and new energy markets, as well as record cash flow from operations and free cash flow, and peer-leading capital allocation.”

He added: “As we look ahead to 2022, we expect the pace of global economic growth to remain strong although slightly moderate compared to 2021. We believe the broader macro recovery should translate into rising energy demand for 2022 and relatively tight supplies for oil and natural gas, providing an attractive investment environment for our customers and a strong tailwind for many of our product companies.”

On the other hand, Baker Hughes’ rival Schlumberger saw its fourth-quarter revenue increase 6 per cent sequentially from $5.85 billion to $6.22 billion and increase 13 per cent year-on-year when the revenues were $5.5 billion.

Schlumberger’s net income on a GAAP basis in 4Q 2021 amounted to $601 million, an increase of 9 per cent when compared to 3Q 2021 and an increase of 61 per cent when compared to 4Q 2020. Excluding charges & credits, the company’s net income totalled $587 million in 4Q 2021 compared to $514 million in 3Q 2021 and $309 million in 4Q 2020.

Schlumberger CEO, Olivier Le Peuch, commented, “Strengthening activity, accelerating digital sales, and outstanding free cash flow performance combined to deliver another quarter of remarkable financial results to close the year with great momentum.”

Looking ahead, Le Peuch said that the industry macro fundamentals are very favourable, due to the combination of projected steady demand recovery, an increasingly tight supply market, and supportive oil prices.

He added: “We believe this will result in a material step-up in industry capital spending with simultaneous double-digit growth in international and North American markets. Absent any further COVID-related disruption, oil demand is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year and to further strengthen in 2023. These favourable market conditions are strikingly similar to those experienced during the last industry supercycle, suggesting that resurgent global demand-led capital spending will result in an exceptional multiyear growth cycle.”

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