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Hunting says impact from BP oil spill uncertain

Source: Reuters 6/30/2010, Location: North America

Oil and gas Services Company Hunting said the impact of the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, following the BP oil spill, remains uncertain although it is still confident for full-year earnings.

"Despite current events in the Gulf of Mexico and sluggish natural gas prices, overall trading in the first half of 2010 has been very positive," said Chief Executive Dennis Proctor.

Hunting, whose customers include Exxon Mobil and BP, said its three main divisions, well construction, well completion and well intervention, reported improved results and a strong order backlog in the first half.

The company said its well completion division would be most affected by the moratorium as some of its backlog covers deep-water services in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The financial impact on this division of the drilling moratorium for the remainder of 2010 and beyond remains uncertain," said the company.

Hunting said well construction would be less impacted by the Gulf of Mexico disaster as it could divert its drilling tools to onshore work.

Hunting said it remained confident for the overall group in the current year, adding that it continued to seek acquisitions and had net cash of about 310 million pounds ($466.5 million).

Shares in Hunting were up 1.4 percent at 448.5 pence at 0728 GMT.

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