Halliburton (HAL 1.84%) recently reported strong second-quarter financial results that were largely in line with analyst expectations. The company's profit surged 21% on better-than-expected demand for oilfield services in North America and strong growth in drilling activity in the Middle East and Asia.
Going forward, global upstream spending is expected to continue growing at a strong pace, bolstering the outlook for Halliburton and other leading oilfield services companies. With that said, let's take a closer look at three key regions and markets that will drive Halliburton's growth over the next few years.
The first and most obvious is North America, which accounts for about half of Halliburton's revenues. While the company's huge exposure to the continent makes it more susceptible to regional weakness as compared to peer Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB), which relies on North America for just about 31% of its revenues, it also presents a major opportunity.
For instance, onshore US well completion is poised to be one of the fastest-growing market segments over the next few years. This market, which Halliburton dominates, provides a major opportunity for both revenue growth and margin expansion. Thanks to heavy investments in research and development, Halliburton has introduced a number of highly sought-after new products and services, which have helped its customers boost production rates by up to 30%.
Coupled with the high costs of switching to a competitor's products and services, strong customer satisfaction has allowed the company to charge more. As Halliburton continues to improve its onshore US well completion offerings, its pricing power should improve further. This should result in significant margin expansion over the next few years.
Another important trend that bodes well for Halliburton in North America is upstream firms' increasing implementation of higher frac stage counts in both established and emerging shale plays. This should significantly boost demand for Halliburton's stimulation services, which provide cost-effective approaches to fracturing.
In addition to its dominant position in North America, Halliburton also has huge international opportunities, primarily in deepwater and mature field services. Deepwater drilling, which is poised for rapid growth in the years ahead, is extremely expensive and technically complex and requires exceptional project management capabilities to maximize profitability.
To that end, Halliburton provides a leading suite of products and services that help customers improve deepwater drilling efficiency through performance workflow solutions that can save millions of dollars per well and up to a month of rig time. It provides these services to operators in 30 countries, representing virtually all the major global deepwater markets. Over the next three years, the company expects its deepwater segment to grow 25% faster annually than the deepwater industry average.
Mature field services will be another major driver of growth for Halliburton, with the company expecting to triple its revenue from the service line to $9 billion by 2016. Mature fields account for roughly 70% of worldwide oil and gas production, which means optimizing production from these fields is crucial to virtually all types of upstream operators.
Halliburton provides customers with a comprehensive mature field solution that consists of complete asset management, entire field and individual well optimization, and well abandonment designs and execution services. Thanks to its innovative and integrated solution, the company's customers have been able to boost their ultimate recovery from mature fields by an average of 20% or more.
Halliburton's dominance in North America, coupled with its increasing penetration into deepwater and mature fields, should help ensure continued double-digit earnings-per-share growth over the next few years. With shares currently trading at 14x forward earnings, I think the company still has a lot more room to run -- provided oil prices don't collapse and upstream companies keep spending.