Rising oil prices and an improved US drilling market have helped oilfield services firm Hunting back into the black but North Sea revenues are down.
The UK firm, which has Aberdeenshire operations in Portlethen and Fordoun, posted pre-tax profits of £29.2 million for the first half of 2018, against losses of £18.3m a year earlier.
Hunting attributed it to “improved stability”, with higher oil prices for the global oil and gas market, and more work from US onshore drilling.
Total revenue was up by 39% to £340.4m.
But the firm’s North Sea business declined as a result of the “challenging market environment”.
The group’s European business suffered losses totalling £4.2m, including £2m in the UK North Sea, marking a widening of the £3.3m trading deficit reported for the first half of last year.
Hunting said this was due to “continued low rig counts in the UK North Sea together with non-recurring sales that were completed in H1 2017”.
The firm added its North Sea business continued to be affected by project delays.
Despite this, Hunting secured new work with Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) and Apache in the period which will “support activity in Aberdeen for the remainder of the year”.
Its casing and tubing division won a contract renewal with Spirit Energy.
Hunting said the business has also launched initiatives to commercialise new products, such as enhanced oil recovery technologies.
The company, which has its roots in a ship-owning business founded by Charles Hunting in 1874, also said it had seen Norwegian drilling and investment levels increase as operators start new projects in the region.
Chief executive Jim Johnson added: “The group’s results for the first half of the year are underpinned by a strong market environment within US onshore completions.
“Outside the US, Hunting’s other reporting segments are seeing improving markets.
“However, there are headwinds, given the introduction of trading tariffs for steel and the continuing volatile geopolitical environment.”
Hunting Energy Services managing director Bruce Ferguson added: “The North Sea market for us is still challenging.
“It’s still a tough market, but were seeing activity and retaining contracts with Apache and CNR.”