Frack sand delays to hurt Halliburton first-quarter earnings

FILE PHOTO - The company logo of Halliburton oilfield services corporate offices is seen in Houston, Texas April 6, 2012. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS OCT 23 FOR ALL IMAGES

(Reuters) - U.S. oilfield services company Halliburton Co's HAL.N first-quarter earnings will be reduced by 10 cents per share due to delays in deliveries of sand used in fracking, Chief Financial Officer Christopher Weber said on Thursday.

Halliburton’s shares fell 2.5 percent after Weber’s comments during a webcast presentation at the Credit Suisse Energy Summit.

Shale drillers blast sand and water into wells to release trapped gas and oil inside the earth. Sand is the most sought-after proppant used in fracking.

“We got multiple sand operators whose operations in the region were impacted and from which we purchase about one-third of our total sand volumes,” Weber said, adding that the delays would have an impact on Halliburton’s operating efficiencies and utilization.

The company has been facing delays of up to 72 hours since February, Weber said.

Most other pressure pumpers will likely see similar headwinds, further hampered by the cold weather Texas experienced in January, said Evercore ISI analyst James West in a note.

West believes the impact will be limited to the first quarter and said earnings should return to normal as the company exits the quarter.

Tudor Pickering analyst Byron Pope, however, said the delays would not affect other oilfield services companies. “This feels to me as though it’s more of a Halliburton-specific issue.”

The company is expected to report first-quarter results in April.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Shailesh Kuber