×

UPDATE 2-Halliburton 4th-qtr profit beats, firm takes charge for Venezuela

(Adds details from earnings call, context)

Jan 22 (Reuters) - U.S. oilfield services company Halliburton Co reported ed a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, as higher oil prices pushed U.S. production to record levels.

Like rival larger Schlumberger, Halliburton delivered an upbeat outlook for its domestic and international operations as rising oil prices spur demand for their services.

"I am optimistic about what I see in 2018," Chief Executive Jeff Miller said in a statement.

Halliburton also reported a fourth-quarter charge of $385 million for its operations in Venezuela, which has been mired in political and economic turmoil. Halliburton said it would continue to "vigorously pursue" payments from its customer in Venezuela going forward.

Schlumberger last week disclosed a $938 million write-down on its Venezuelan assets and receivables.

Halliburton was upbeat about the health of the U.S. oil industry given the rise in oil prices and increased drilling. The U.S. rig count is up almost 35 percent from last year to 936, according to data from General Electric's Baker Hughes

"Commodity prices are supportive of increasing activity in North America and I am encouraged by the increase in tender activity and the positive discussions we are having with our international customers," Miller said in a statement.

Shares of the services provider rose around 1 percent in premarket trading as the company posted a profit of 53 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate of 46 cents per share, as per Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Halliburton, which makes about 55 percent of its revenue from North American operations, said total revenue rose to $5.9 billion for the quarter, from $4.02 billion a year earlier. Revenue in North America came in at $3.4 billion, up from $1.8 billion last year.

The company also reported $882 million in tax charges, largely the result of preliminary tax provisions related to the new U.S. tax law

Schlumberger last week beat Wall Street forecasts and gave an upbeat outlook, predicting its international operations would grow in 2018 for the first time in four years.

A stronger outlook for international market follows a nearly 24 percent climb in the global Brent futures contract in the past three months.

(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Liz Hampton; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)