2004 outlook positive-ish

For oil service companies, 2003 ended on a high. The general opinion is that 2004 is looking good too—with anticipation of higher spending by customers and a ‘new optimism’.

Mike Wiley, Baker Hughes International (BHI) chairman and CEO, reporting on a ‘solid fourth quarter’ expects 2004 to be ‘a year of revenue and earnings growth’. BHI does not envisage a significant upturn in activity in either the North Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. But Russia, the Caspian, Latin America and the Middle East are all expected to improve. ‘All our divisions are planning improved revenue and profitability in what we expect to be a stable pricing environment’ Wiley concluded.


Halliburton president Dave Lesar described Landmark Graphics’ 2003 operating income as ‘18% up on 2002—the highest margin since Landmark was acquired (in 1996)’. The Energy Services Group (ESG), ‘benefited from increased oilfield activity in the United States and Canada, and from improvement in international markets. Looking ahead to 2004, customer spending is expected to accelerate over the course of the year, although our first quarter results are expected to be affected by normal seasonal softness.’

TGS Nopec

TGS Nopec reported net revenues for Q4 2003 up 29% to $41 million. President Hank Hamilton described the quarter as ‘fantastic—a record quarter’. Net revenue for the year was up 10% on 2002 to $140 million. 36.9 MM$ up 10% on 2002. The record last quarter came from many diverse customers, markets and projects. According to Hamilton this is a very broad signal that the market is improving. The company is projecting a 5% increase in net revenues in 2004. All in all a very positive outlook for 2004.


Aspen Technology reported a return to profitability and higher software license sales for its fiscal 2004 second quarter. Total revenues for the quarter were $80.4 million, with software license revenues of $37.7 million. Looking forward, President Dave McQuillan sees ‘economic indicators steadily improving, we are beginning to see pockets of strength in our customer base and we are moving aggressively to capitalize on these opportunities.’ Aspen closed nine transactions of $1 million or greater—signing significant transactions with Saudi Aramco and Anadarko.


The French Petroleum Institute is forecasting record worldwide E&P spend of over $115 billion for 2004 (excluding China and the CIS). The record level is due to growing demand, high oil and gas prices and a ‘new optimism’ especially in the North American market.

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