What: Shares of oil services provider Weatherford International (NYSE:WFT) got a 15% haircut in June as further declines in oil prices, drilling activity, and the the offshore drilling market in particular are taking their toll on all oil services providers, especially Weatherford.
So what: A turnaround in the oil market just hasn't come as soon as companies like Weatherford had hoped. So much of the financial media's attention has been drawn to sexy headline stories like a price war between U.S. shale producers and OPEC, but in actuality, it's the other production sources that are hurting the most from this price decline. The places with heavy investments in offshore drilling, such as Brazil, are cutting back on production outlooks and spending activity, and it's taking a toll on companies that serve that market.
Weatherford isn't the only one suffering lately. In fact, all of the major oil and gas equipment and services companies had a rough go of it in June.
The reason it has struck Weatherford so much harder than the others, though, is that the company is still in the middle of a corporate turnaround that intends to fix some of the issues that caused years of underperformance in the oil services space and left the company with a bloated balance sheet. While it is still making strides with this program by shutting down several manufacturing facilities and reducing the company's head count by 10,000 people this year, this major decline in drilling activity is not doing the company any favors at the moment.
Now what: Weatherford's management expects that this turnaround program will allow it to compete with its much larger competitors for a larger market share, especially for the big-fish customers like the integrated majors and the national oil companies. However, with oil prices where they are, and drilling activity becoming that much more scarce, it's going to be hard for Weatherford to outbid these other players, which have much larger economies of scale and established customer relationships with these big-time players.
Considering the outlook for the oil market today, it's hard to make a case for investing in Weatherford when you could invest in one of its competitors, which are on more solid financial footing.
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