NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -07/03/12)- It has been a tough year for the Oil & Gas Equipment & Services Industry as plummeting natural gas prices have seen the number of natural gas rigs drop to their lowest levels in 10 years. A weak global economy has seen commodity prices slide in 2012 and as a result oil services stocks have suffered. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Oil & Gas Equipment & Services Industry and provides equity research on Halliburton Company (HAL) and Schlumberger Limited. (SLB).
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The emergence of "fracking" saw the number of natural gas rigs in the U.S. jump from 591 in April 2002 to a peak of over 1,600 in August 2008 according to data from Baker Hughes. The number of natural gas rigs has since fallen to a low of 530 rigs currently operating in the U.S. Yet falling gas prices have seen exploration and production companies shift their focus from natural gas to the more lucrative oil business. The number of oil rigs has jumped from 400 in August 2008 to approximately 1,400 today, with 97 percent of those rigs are on land.
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Halliburton recently reported that they will face lower profit margins this quarter as a result of a potential shortage of guar gum. Guar gum is an agricultural commodity used as a blending additive to its fluids utilized in hydraulic fracturing. "As a result, the company now believes that its North America margins will be impacted 300 basis points more than its previous guidance of 200 to 250 basis points, for a total impact of 500-550 basis points lower than first quarter levels." The company stated in a recent operational update.
Liquid Robotics, Inc. and Schlumberger recently announced the creation of Liquid Robotics Oil & Gas, a joint venture to develop services for the oil and gas industry using Wave Gliders, the world's first wave-powered, autonomous marine vehicles. Liquid Robotics and Schlumberger have equal ownership of the joint venture. Liquid Robotics will provide fleets of Wave Gliders together with relevant engineering, piloting and maintenance expertise, while Schlumberger brings their upstream technology and market leadership.
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