Oilfield firms see continued drilling slowdown

The United States’s major oilfield services companies are predicting drilling will slow during the coming months.

Baker Hughes Inc. and Halliburton Co. both released quarterly earnings Tuesday and said they were confident that they could weather the historic drop in oil prices, Reuters reported.

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But looking closer, the companies agreed that drilling activity is likely to fall throughout the first quarter of 2015 and possibly longer.

“We can look at previous cycles for insight,” Halliburton President Jeff Miller said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday, according to Reuters. “While history doesn’t always repeat, sometimes it rhymes.”

Companies are looking at downturns in 2001-2002 and 2008-2009 for some guidance as to what will happen this time.

“In those [past] cases we experienced a rapid correction to the rig count going from peak to trough over a three-quarter period,” Miller said.

Baker Hughes said its oil rig count fell by 35 percent during the 2001-2002 slowdown.

The company said it’d reduce its capital expenditures by 20 percent this year.

“What we have learned in the past is that when the market turns down, it turns swiftly,” Baker Hughes chief executive Martin Craighead said on a conference call, according to Reuters. “In each of the last three downturns dating back to the 1990s, we have seen North American rig counts fall between 40 percent and 60 percent in the space of only 12 months.”