Anton oilfield widens horizons
Service supplier chairman expects mainland firm will find more than half its business offshore within five years, up from 25pc
Hong Kong-listed Anton Oilfield Services, one of the mainland's largest non-state-owned oilfield service suppliers, expects to source over half of its business from overseas projects within five years, up from 25 per cent now.
Chairman Luo Lin said this was assuming the mainland's shale gas development did not see "explosive" growth in that time.
The mainland is estimated by the US Energy Information Administration to have the world's largest resources of shale gas - natural gas trapped in underground sedimentary rock.
But its exploitation is only at a nascent exploratory stage and is not expected to reach a sizeable commercial scale for at least a few years.
Large-scale production of shale gas has been made possible by technology advancements in the United States in the past five years.
Anton last Thursday signed an agreement to set up a joint venture with United States and French-based Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield services firm. The venture will play a contractor role, providing project management services and tools and materials procurement services to oil and gas explorers and producers.
It will source services and tools from Anton and Schlumberger, or third-party suppliers. Services will include the drilling of wells using unconventional methods that enhance oil and gas flow, as well as underground well preparation to prevent excessive water seepage and prevent the drill pipes from being blocked by sands.
The venture will primarily work on mainland projects.
On overseas business, Luo said growth would come from mainland state oil and gas firms' overseas projects, as well as projects by other international firms. Of Anton's overseas sales, 80.8 per cent came from the Middle East, 10.6 per cent from Central Asia, 8.3 per cent from Africa and 0.3 per cent from the US.
A main source of Middle East income was PetroChina's Al-Ahdab and Halfaya oil production enhancement projects.
Much of its Central Asia income was from Citic Resources' oil production project in Kazakhstan.
Anton's first-half net profit rose 146 per cent year on year to 124.6 million yuan (HK$152.9 million) as sales grew 52.7 per cent to 526 million yuan.
Its share price has jumped 131 per cent this year to end last week at HK$1.99, outperforming the Hang Seng Index's 11.9 per cent gain.