There are hundreds of companies that operate in the oil and gas industry around the world—one of the largest and most important sectors of the global economy. According to IBISWorld, the industry’s market size is estimated to be around $85 billion in 2021. Companies in the sector operate in a variety of different segments including exploration, drilling and production, marketing, refining, and transportation. They are collectively known as upstream, midstream, and downstream operations.
Strategic acquisitions make up a big part of this industry. Multinational corporation Halliburton (HAL) is a major player in the oil field services segment of the industry—one that uses acquisitions as a way to expand its presence in the global market. Read on to find out more about the top three companies owned by Haliburton.
- Halliburton is an energy equipment and services company with a long history of acquisitions.
- The company currently has roughly 30 subsidiaries and 14 product service lines.
- Three important subsidiaries include Baroids, Landmark, and Sperry Drilling.
- Haliburton acquired Athlon in 2018 for an undisclosed sum to develop its reactive chemistry capabilities.
Haliburton: A Brief History
Halliburton remains a stalwart in the energy industry. Founded in 1919 as the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company, the company changed its name to Halliburton in 1961. It employs more than 40,000 people in more than 70 countries. While the company’s main operations in the United States are based in Houston, Halliburton’s international operations are based in Dubai.
The company has 14 different product service lines which operate in two different divisions—the drilling and evaluation segment, and the completion and production division.
Jeff Miller serves as the company’s chair. Miller has served as president and chief executive officer (CEO) since June 1, 2017. Other top executives at the company include:
- Lance Loeffler: Executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO)
- Lawrence J. Pope: Executive vice president of administration and chief human resources officer
- Van Beckwith: Executive vice president, secretary, and chief legal officer
For the 2020 fiscal year, revenue came in at $14.4 billion. That’s a 36% drop or $8.0 billion from the previous year. Halliburton posted an operating loss of $2.4 billion during the year, compared to $448 million operating loss in the prior year. The change was due to the “global pandemic and an unprecedented energy market downturn in 2020.”
Acquisition Strategy and Recent Acquisitions
Halliburton has a long history of acquisitions. Its subsidiaries span the globe, ranging from the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Brazil, and Cyprus.
The number of countries in which Halliburton operates.
When Halliburton acquires another company, it often integrates that company within one of its service lines. These run the gamut from drilling products and services to production solutions, project management, and much more. Sometimes, its plans don’t go as expected. For instance, the company made a proposal to acquire Baker Hughes—one of the world’s largest oil field services companies—in 2016 through a cash-and-stock deal valued at almost $35 billion when it was announced in November 2014. That plan didn’t come to fruition because of antitrust concerns, as regulators in the U.S. and Europe believed the merger would boost prices in the oil and gas sector.
Antitrust laws promote healthy competition and prevent inflated prices as the case would have been with Halliburton’s proposed acquisition of Baker Hughes.
In late July 2018, Halliburton announced plans to acquire Athlon Solutions, a provider of specialty water and process treatment chemicals as well as other related products. Athlon joined Halliburton’s multi-chem business line to provide chemicals for specialty oilfield services. The Athlon acquisition was finalized for an undisclosed amount of money. When Halliburton made the announcement, the company’s CEO explained that the purchase was part of Halliburton’s strategy to develop its reactive chemistry capabilities in the U.S. as well as internationally.
The following are three of Halliburton’s more important subsidiaries, all of which help demonstrate the company’s great history with strategic acquisitions.
Baroid is part of Halliburton’s Drilling and Evaluation segment, which is responsible for the modeling of oil and natural gas fields and reservoirs. Baroid supplies of drilling fluid additives, performance additives, completion fluids, and related products and services. It also helps oil and gas companies drill fields with precision and optimize the extraction of hydrocarbons.
Baroid became a part of Halliburton in 1998 when Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries, a major rival at the time, in an all-stock transaction. The transaction was a one-for-one stock deal. Dresser acquired Baroid four years prior for $1 billion.
Like Baroid, Landmark—formerly Landmark Graphics—makes up part of Halliburton’s Drilling and Evaluation segment. Halliburton originally purchased Landmark Graphics in 1996 in a stock-for-stock transaction similar to the Dresser deal.
Landmark is a leading provider of Halliburton’s technology solutions for the upstream oil and natural gas industries, including software for exploration and production (E&P) companies, as well as for data analysis solutions.
According to the company, Landmark’s data management software is used by 44 of the industry’s top 50 E&P companies. One of these solutions is OpenWorks, a data management system that organizes data and information generated from drilling wells. OpenWorks facilitates communication between parties on projects and encourages collaboration to optimize well locations.
Sperry Drilling is also part of Halliburton’s Drilling and Evaluation portfolio, just like Baroid and Landmark. Sperry provides the company’s clients with systems and services for a host of drilling operations, such as horizontal and directional drilling, as well as systems for information gathering on rig sites. It also offers engineering optimization that helps Halliburton’s clients reduce the risk at drilling sites and increase productivity. Sperry also offers real-time consulting to E&P companies to ensure that wells are drilled safely and that oil and gas are extracted in the most efficient manner possible.
The successor of Sperry Drilling, the Sperry-Sun Well Drilling Company, was founded in 1929 as a joint venture between the Sun Oil Company and the Sperry-Gyroscope Company. Sun Oil Company’s Joseph N. Pew, Jr. went into business with Elmer Sperry to develop well-drilling methods that were more optimal than those available at the time. Sun Oil bought out Sperry’s stake in the Sperry-Gyroscope Company in 1947, and in 1974, merged Sperry-Gyroscope with another drilling company, Reamco Inc. The resulting company was renamed Sperry-Sun.
Sun Oil later restructured and sold Sperry-Sun to NL Industries (NL) for $252 million in 1981. At the time, NL Industries contained Baroid before it was sold to Dresser Industries. NL packaged Sperry-Sun into Baroid in 1988 and spun off Baroid amid hard times in the oil industry before being acquired by Dresser and, eventually, Halliburton.