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Halliburton shows surge in profits despite connection to Gulf oil spill

Halliburton Co., which was handling the cementing job on BP's Macondo well before it blew up, saw its second-quarter profits jump 83 percent, beating Wall Street expectations.

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Smoke rises from a controlled burn of contained oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil well leak on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Friday, July 16. Halliburton, which was installing and cementing the production casing on the well when it blew up, has seen its profits jump 83 percent in the second quarter.

Patrick Semansky/AP

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Halliburton Co. said energy companies have become so aggressive about exploring for natural gas in the U.S. that its land-based drilling business will make up for a suspension of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Houston petroleum services company on Monday reported an 83-percent surge in second-quarter profits. The results beat Wall Street expectations, and shares rose more than 5 percent.

Halliburton is the first of several companies connected to the Gulf oil spill to report second-quarter financial results. The company was handling the cementing job on BP's Macondo well before it blew up on April 20.

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The government's moratorium on deepwater exploration in the Gulf "will usher in a new regulatory climate and will have a profound impact on how deepwater drilling is performed," Halliburton's CEO Dave Lesar said in a conference call with investors.

Lesar said that drilling activity throughout the Gulf will slow down this year as drilling permits receive more scrutiny from government regulators. A few deepwater rigs have already left the Gulf for work in international waters. Lesar doesn't expect them to return "for some time, if at all."

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