August 4, 2011 / 10:18 AM / in 6 years

UPDATE 3-Calfrac profit to flare up on drilling boom

(Adds details, analyst comments in paragraphs in 2,10,12)

* Q2 EPS C$0.27 vs est loss/shr C$0.08

* Q2 rev up 63 pct to C$269.5 mln vs est C$215 mln

* Plans to commence operations in Colombia in H2

* Shares up as much as 4 percent

By Aftab Ahmed

BANGALORE, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Calfrac Well Services Ltd posted a surprise quarterly profit, as surging oil prices boosted drilling activity in North America, and the oilfield services company forecast a strong year ahead.

A seasonal slowdown in Canada -- where melting snow in spring hampered activity -- delayed a lot of fracturing and coiled tubing work into the third and fourth quarters, when the company will reap further rewards from the drilling boom.

The Canadian company said it will gain from high equipment utilization in western Canada and will continue its run of strong results through the rest of the year and into 2012.

Calfrac also expects crude oil and natural gas liquids prices to remain strong, which should assure expanded capital budgets at many of its customers.

In the April-June quarter, U.S. crude oil prices CLc1 soared 32 percent to average $103.49 a barrel.

Calfrac’s larger North America peers like Baker Hughes , Schlumberger Ltd and Halliburton Co have also posted strong profits.

The company raised its 2011 capital program by C$59 million to C$382 million ($396 million), of which C$38 million is expected to be spent in 2012.

It posted a fourth straight profit of C$12.1 million, or 27 Canadian cents a share, while analysts had expected it to lose 8 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which gets more than 80 percent of its revenue from North America, benefited from high levels of pressure pumping activity in the unconventional oil and natural gas plays of western Canada and the United States.

“Today’s results reinforce the view that the pressure pumping market remains hot with no signs of weakening through year-end 2012, despite significant capacity additions,” UBS analyst Chad Friess said in a note.

Additionally, Calfrac, which has operations in Argentina, Russia, Mexico, said it plans to commence operations in Colombia during the second half of 2011.

“(Calfrac) remains our favourite name in the space given further upside potential from the underperforming regions of Russia and Mexico, and the entry into Colombia,” Friess, who has “buy” rating on the stock, said.

Calgary, Alberta-based Calfrac’s shares rose as much as 4 percent before paring their gains to trade almost flat at C$36.11 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1 = 0.965 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting by Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Viraj Nair)

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