If you're an investor with a taste for energy and power companies, you would have been right at home this week in New York City, which hosted the leaders of some of the nation's top companies in those sectors. The attraction was the Barclays Capital 2009 CEO Energy/Power Conference.
The presenters included members of Big Oil, such as Chevron
The pair did an admirable job of describing the company's approach. It's a two-pronged strategy, with one part labeled "Looking Across the Chasm" and the other "Navigating the Downturn."
As Probert described it, the chasm part includes anticipating the structural changes in North America, investing in strategic growth areas, spending capital dollars to develop cost-saving technology, and packaging integrated services for customers from ExxonMobil
The anticipated structural change in the North American market wasn't explained well, except that Probert noted that the market has become "almost 45% focused on unconventional activities." It wasn't made clear whether Halliburton expects that percentage to increase or decrease once we get back to normal.
The "navigating" part involves financial and operating initiatives. Included are girding against the company's market position slipping, lowering input costs, increasing financial flexibility, managing within Halliburton's cash flow, and protecting the "A" credit rating.
It appears that the company is doing a host of things right. For instance, Probert maintains that Halliburton is a leader in the development of unconventional gas, and that "deepwater remains a bright spot." In that area, the company is focused on improving pre-salt imaging. And it has an "enviable portfolio of completion products, particularly for the deepwater ... "
And there are other bright spots at Halliburton. For instance, during the second quarter, the company reeled in about $3.5 billion in new contracts and maintained a 20% operating margin. As a former analyst, I've watched the company for years. It has always been solid, a trait that Fools should recognize only appears to be strengthening during this downturn.