Buoyant oilfield activity in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Angola helped Halliburton Co (HAL.N) beat market expectations with a 17 percent rise in profit, setting up an even better performance for the fourth quarter.
The world's second-largest oilfield services company has been chasing more opportunities outside its traditionally dominant U.S. market to better take on larger rival Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N), which also topped estimates with its profits last quarter.
"Our Eastern Hemisphere growth continues to lead our peer group," Chief Executive Dave Lesar said in a statement. "Consistent with prior years, we expect the fourth quarter in the Eastern Hemisphere to be our strongest quarter of the year, due to seasonal year-end software and equipment sales."
Third-quarter net profit rose to $706 million, or 79 cents per share, from $602 million, or 65 cents per share a year ago. Revenue rose 5 percent to $7.47 billion.
Excluding restructuring charges, the company reported earnings of 83 cents per share, a penny above what analysts had expected on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Halliburton executives warned last month of the restructuring charge along with another reduction of 2 to 3 cents from the impact of flooding in Colorado oilfields.
Halliburton said revenue grew 2 percent in North America despite the Colorado floods, while adjusted operating income climbed 4 percent due to a seasonal recovery in Canada and deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Along with Schlumberger, rival Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N) also posted higher-than-expected earnings on Friday, boosted by offshore drilling and activity outside North America.
Baker Hughes expects the U.S. rig count it compiles to average 1,750 rigs for 2013, down 9 percent from 2012, although the industry is drilling about 6 percent more wells per rig. On the other hand, the international count was expected to average 1,300 rigs in 2013, up 5 percent from last year.