Halliburton profits jump by 50%

Halliburton refinery
Image caption Halliburton faces legal action from its customer BP later in the year

Profits at US oil services giant Halliburton rose 50% to $907m (£581m) for the three months to the end of December, compared with the same period in 2010.

The firm, which supports companies looking for oil and gas, said its North American operations drove its profits.

Halliburton described its international operations as "challenging" because of unrest in North Africa.

The firm is moving away from natural gas services to focus on oil.

Oil prices in the three months to the end of December 2011 rose 10%, while natural gas prices fell 13% in the same period.

"As a result of the recent decline in natural gas prices and corresponding decline in natural gas rig count, we are relocating people and equipment into oil and liquids-rich basins," said chief executive Dave Lesar in a statement.

Court battle

Halliburton faces legal action from its customer, BP, later in the year.

The British firm announced that it expected Halliburton to pay for all costs and damages arising from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Halliburton made the cement cap on the well which blew when the blow-out preventer failed.

The case is due to open in a US federal court in February.

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