UPDATE 1-National Oilwell expects offshore rig demand to slow
* Reports 1st-qtr orders $2.33 bln vs $3.04 bln year earlier
* Expects demand for new offshore rigs to slow in 2nd half
* Shares fall about 7 pct (Adds details from the statement and conference call, analyst comment, share movement)
April 28 (Reuters) - National Oilwell Varco Inc, the largest U.S. oilfield equipment provider, said orders fell by nearly a quarter in the first quarter and it expects demand for new offshore rigs to slow during the second half of the year.
The company's shares fell about 7 percent.
Demand for contract drilling is softening as rigs ordered during boom times are being delivered now. Large oil companies are tightening spending after a decade of double-digit increase in budgets as oil prices stagnate and project costs rise.
National Oilwell said on a conference call on Monday that its day rates had come under pressure with demand slowing.
Rival Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc warned last week that the next two years could be a tough environment for offshore drillers.
National Oilwell booked $2.33 billion in new orders for oilfield equipment in the first quarter, down from $3.04 billion a year earlier. Continued...