* Pride sees Q2 EPS $0.66-$0.71 vs est $0.72
* H&P sees lower avg rev/day for rigs under term contract
* Pride Q1 profit down 34 pct, H&P’s Q2 profit down 40 pct
* Pride says near-term deepwater outlook challenging
* H&P shares down 13 pct, Pride’s drop 8 pct (Adds analyst comments, updates share movement)
By Shradhha Sharma
BANGALORE, April 30 (Reuters) - Oil and gas drillers Pride International Inc PDE.N and Helmerich & Payne Inc (HP.N) reported a drop in quarterly profits, hurt by order cancellations and more equipment being cold stacked, and forecast a bleak outlook.
Shares of Helmerich & Payne fell as much as 13 percent, while those of Pride dropped 8 percent Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.
On a conference call with analysts, Houston-based Pride forecast second-quarter earnings between 66 cents a share and 71 cents a share, which fell short of analysts’ expectation of 72 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates. [ID:nWNAB1302]
Calyon Securities analyst Shreyans Jain said he was lowering the 2009 and 2010 earnings estimate on Pride by 15 percent to 18 percent to reflect lower utilization and increased costs due to some the company’s forecasted floater upgrades and repairs.
The company said it would make cost control one of its highest priorities, adding that it had cut 304 jobs in its matt jackup business during March and forecast additional capex and workforce reductions if more of its rigs go idle.
Earlier on Thursday, it backed its $1.1 billion capex view for 2009.
Pride also said it has cold stacked three jackup rigs in the first quarter, and four other units -- the Pride Alaska, Pride Mississippi in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Pride California, Pride Arkansas operating offshore Mexico had experienced significant idle time.
Pride’s first-quarter profit beat Wall Street expectations, but the oil and gas driller said the near-term outlook at its deepwater segment was becoming increasingly challenging. [ID:nBNG428969]
It reported a 34 percent drop in first-quarter net income to $158.9 million, or 90 cents a share. Revenue grew marginally to $549.3 million.
The precipitous fall in oil and gas prices from record highs in July last year have forced many energy companies to scale back exploration activity and slash spending.
Second-quarter profit at Helmerich & Payne also fell 40 percent as it received early termination notices from customers for 35 of its active new build FlexRigs, and out of these 28 were idled by the end of the second quarter and the remaining seven were expected to be released during the third quarter.
Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Helmerich & Payne also agreed to delay deliveries of some of its new builds and will be compensated by the customers. It reported a quarterly net income to $103.7 million, or 98 cents a share and said revenue dropped 17 percent to $520.3 million.
Both Pride and Helmerich & Payne are among the several U.S. oil and gas drillers who have been hurt considerably by the continuing weakness in the shallow water market over the last couple of quarters.
Pride said on the call that while the international jackup market will continue to worsen through 2009, its midwater markets will also experience softness. The company said it expects more rigs to be idled and midwater day rates to weaken.
“I think a lot of people thought that we are close to seeing a bottom but I don’t think that’s accurate at all.... The entire next year could very bad and I don’t think people anticipated that,” Pritchard Capital Partners analyst Brian Uhlmer said by phone.
With a challenging near-term outlook for the deepwater market, Pride said it was considering accessing the debt markets to create a liquidity cushion.
Helmerich & Payne, which operates land and offshore platform rigs for bigger companies like BP Plc (BP.L), Venezuela state oil company PDVSA and Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N), said it expects four rigs to become idle in Venezuela during the current quarter.
It also expects standby and reduced rates to hurt dayrates sequentially by $1000 a day. [ID:nWNAB1289]
Shares of Helmerich & Payne were trading down $3.34 at $30.24, while those of Pride were down $1.70 at $22.14 both on the New York Stock Exchange. For the alerts, double-click [ID:nWNAB1067] [ID:nWNAB0033] (Additional reporting by Arup Roychoudhury in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D‘Silva, Jarshad Kakkrakandy)