Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Halliburton
Thank you, David, and good morning, everyone. Last quarter, we discussed a longer view of a recovering market and our confidence in a multi-year upcycle. I am pleased that the steady march of activity and Halliburton's performance in the third quarter, internationally and in North America, all reinforce our enthusiasm today and for what we expect in 2022 and beyond. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of both our strategy and our execution as the market recovery accelerates.
Here are some highlights. Total Company revenue increased 4% sequentially with topline improvements across all regions, while adjusted operating income grew 6% with solid margin performance in both divisions. Our Completion and Production division revenue grew 4%, driven by increased global activity. Operating margin was essentially flat in the third quarter as we made operational choices to prepare for higher demand for our services in 2022. Our Drilling and Evaluation division revenue grew 4% with increased activity across multiple regions. Operating margin of 11% was about flat sequentially.
North America revenue increased 3% as growth in U.S. land was partially offset by a decline in our Gulf of Mexico business due to Hurricane Ida. International revenue grew 5% sequentially in line with the international rig count growth. Our year-to-date free cash flow generation of almost $900 million puts us solidly on track to deliver our full year free cash flow objective. Finally, we retired $500 million of our long-term debt and ended the quarter with $2.6 billion of cash on hand.
As this upcycle unfolds in both the international and North America markets, Halliburton is executing on our strategy to deliver profitable growth and generate industry leading returns. In the international markets, third quarter activity momentum continued and I believe it will accelerate into year-end and support mid-teen second half revenue growth compared to the second half of last year. This expected outcome is better than we anticipated a quarter ago.
In the third quarter, we started long term projects across all regions in spite of COVID-19 interruptions. While mobility restrictions and daily precautions remain in place, business activity around the world has adjusted and continues to improve. In the Middle East, countries relaxed border restrictions and OPEC members prepared for activity increases. We started work on several rigs, offshore UAE, mobilized our workover project in Bahrain, and completed multiple ESP installations on our artificial lift contract in Kuwait. We expect the Middle East to exit the year with solid activity momentum.
In Asia Pacific, we launched operations on an integrated project, offshore Malaysia, with full implementation of Halliburton's digital well construction capabilities. We also ramped up for an increase in our Indonesia drilling operations for the local NOC plans to boost production from its assets.
In Europe/Africa/CIS region, the start of operations on a 23-well offshore integrated development campaign for Woodside and Senegal marked a new country entry for Halliburton. In Russia, we are mobilizing for a multi-year IOC-operated project on Sakhalin Island. In the UK sector of the North Sea, work continues on several new development drilling and workover projects for local independent operators.
Finally, Latin America delivered its best quarterly performance since 2015. We spudded the first well on a three-year integrated project in Brazil, deployed our new drilling technologies on multiple wells in Argentina, and prepared to mobilize for new work in Ecuador and Colombia.
In addition to contract start-ups, our pipeline of new tenders continues to grow. While large Middle East tenders and Latin America projects received most of the headlines, customers in Africa, Russia and Southeast Asia among others are also issuing tenders for new work. All of this points to increasing international customer urgency and demand for our services.
Let me describe what I'm seeing that gives me this conviction. Global supply and demand balance continues to tighten, resulting in a strong commodity price environment. In response, asset owners are eager to reverse baseline production declines caused by multiple years of under-investment. We expect, then NOCs, and other operators with short cycle production opportunities will commit additional capital and gain share to meet future oil demand. Additionally, new fields are smaller and more complex, more customers work harder to produce more barrels. Finally, as mature assets change hands, new owners move quickly to revitalize the assets they acquire and unlock remaining reserves. They require service partners who can deliver proven technology and decades of experience. All of these things have one thing in common, they require higher service intensity, more dollar spent on the wellbore rather than on infrastructure.
As the international recovery accelerates, we remain committed to a clear strategic priority: deliver profitable growth, and we have unique competitive advantages to deliver on this priority. We have the established footprint, geographic presence, and customer and supplier relationships to capitalize on growth. We have a strong presence in all major international markets. The substantial majority of our workforce is local and within the regions where we operate, our supply chain spend is primarily with local suppliers. We have proven capabilities to ramp up our services as customers enter new markets. We demonstrated this in Guyana, Suriname, and most recently in Senegal. The Halliburton team mobilized personnel and built a multifunctional operational base to support Woodside as we embarked together on a development campaign offshore Senegal.
We also engineer innovative solutions, both digital and hardware to meet the complex reservoir challenges faced by our international customers. For example, in well construction this quarter, we introduced the iStar comprehensive measurement platform. This next generation intelligent platform provides multiple logging and drilling measurements that enabled reservoir evaluation, faster drilling, and consistent well delivery. For multiple customers in the Middle East and North Sea, the iStar platform provides insight into the impact of drilling parameters on wellbore conditions and optimizes the drilling process in real time.
In completions, we are the global leader in downhole completion solutions. As our customers increase their activity, our e-completions ecosystem integrates manufacturing digital twins and technology development processes to increase our speed to market for these long lead complex systems. In many regions, as customers drive for better performance in the face of increasing operational challenges, I expect adoption of integrated and bundled contracts will continue to grow. Halliburton has strong project management capabilities and a proven track record that deliver efficiencies and reduce total customer cost of ownership.
Our digital innovations reframe customer project economics through greater efficiencies and improve decision-making. For example, in the third quarter, we deployed our Well Construction 4.0 digital solution to deliver further operational efficiencies for our customer in the Middle East. Finally, our customers call on us for collaboration from an IOC looking to reduce emissions on its operations in Mexico to a European independent working to remotely monitor and control all of its global drilling operations. Halliburton's value proposition to collaborate and engineer solutions to maximize asset value for our customers is working for both our customers and Halliburton.
Now turning to North America, the bifurcation between public and private company activity continued in the third quarter. Public E&Ps remain committed to their spending plans for 2021, while private operators continued to take advantage of a strong commodity price environment. As expected, completions growth moderated in the third quarter as operators shifted their focus from completions to drilling activity. Just like in the international markets, customer urgency and demand for our services keep growing in North America. Drilled but uncompleted well counts reached the lowest level since 2013 as operators depleted the surplus of DUCs accumulated in 2020. We expect customers to drill and complete more new wells to offset steep base decline rates and deliver production into an anticipated attractive market next year.
Completions equipment availability is tightening. Customers have responded by starting the 2022 tender process earlier in an attempt to lock in access to quality services for next year's programs. Private companies now operate about 60% of the U.S. land rig count and current commodity prices provide a strong incentive for their activity to expand. Our market leading position in North America is rooted in the groundbreaking technologies we put to work in this market. We are the only fully integrated service provider in North America and this gives us a unique competitive advantage. We combine the full breadth of our technology disciplines, geosciences, physics, chemistry, material science, and mechanical, electrical, and software engineering to deliver innovative solutions at scale around the world and uniquely in North America to maximize production and minimize costs.
Our SmartFleet intelligent fracturing services transitioned from pilot to campaign mode. Several large operators today have SmartFleet working on multi-pad completion programs. SmartFleet, for the first time, allows operators to measure treatment placement in real time which, among other things, has demonstrated up to 30% improvement in cluster uniformity.
In the third quarter, we introduced the IsoBond cement system and prompted for multiple customers in the DJ Basin and in the Marcellus shale. By removing liquid additives, this dry blended cement provide significant operational efficiencies and lowers capital requirements for land operations. Taking advantage of the increasing demand for our services require strategic execution on many fronts, particularly in the current environment of stretched supply chains, tight labor and inflationary pressures.
Against that reality, I believe that Halliburton is best prepared to provide reliable execution for our customers. Our sophisticated supply chain organization translates Halliburton size and scale into real savings for us and our customers. We are seeing that in action as our supply chain delivers what our customers require for their projects. The labor market is tight today. We've seen this situation before and our human resources team knows how to navigate it. Over the last few years, we compressed our on-boarding time, strengthened our National Recruiting Network, and used digital solutions to significantly reduce our field personnel requirements. Despite real challenges, we have the scale, speed, and systems to recruit talent nationally and quickly deploy it for our customers.
In logistics, we have ready access to a fleet of drivers to make deliveries to the job site. We expanded our collaboration with Vorto, an artificial intelligence supply chain platform. Our early adoption of Vorto's platform that connects drivers, asset owners, and maintenance charge allows us to effectively manage trucking inflation and availability constraints.
Now let me spend a few minutes on our activity and pricing outlook for 2022. First in the international markets, and then in North America. Next year, we expect international activity momentum to accelerate and international leading edge pricing to move upward in pockets as a result of higher activity. This is what we are seeing today. Large tenders remain competitive, but we are already seeing modest price increases on discrete work in underserved markets. We see increasing customer demand for Halliburton's high-end technology and a recognition of its value.
Finally, as a result of lower spending by service companies for more than half a decade, international markets face tightening equipment supply. To meet these demands, we are strategically reallocating assets to drive improved utilization and returns. Let me be clear, Halliburton prioritizes profitable growth internationally and this will drive our capital allocation decisions to the best returning product lines, geographies, and contracts.
In North America, we expect customer spending to increase in and around 20% next year, including solid net pricing gains. Many factors drive that spending in pricing, including customer urgency, equipment tightness, and a desire to align with a reliable and differentiated service provider like Halliburton.
Last quarter, we highlighted the pricing traction that exists for low emission equipment. Today, as we tender for 2022 work, we are seeing price increases for the rest of our fracturing fleet as well. Net pricing has also increased across different non-frac product service lines, drilling, cementing, drill bits, and artificial lift. To generate the highest returns as this market grows, we are taking steps to maximize the value of our North America business. Specifically, we are repositioning our fracturing fleets to customers in areas where we can maximize returns in 2022, securing longer term premium pricing contracts for our existing and planned electric fleets, and accelerating fleet maintenance and deployment of the next generation fluid end technology, which extends the life of our equipment. Halliburton is committed to North America, and I expect we will benefit more than others as activity and pricing momentum accelerates across the board.
Next, let me turn to how we are executing on our strategic priority to advance a sustainable energy future. As we are witnessing now and saw in the third quarter, the world requires a greater supply of oil and gas. As an oilfield services company, we have the core competency to help our customers deliver the supply in the most efficient and technologically-advanced ways possible. With our customers, we are bringing our technical expertise and over a century of industry experience to actively participate in the transition to a cleaner economy.
One of the most meaningful contributions we can make today to this transition is to help our customers reduce emissions from their existing production base. Emissions reduction is a critical part of our technology development process and our innovative low carbon solutions are helping oil and gas operators reduce their carbon footprint. Halliburton's electric fracturing solution delivers results now for our customers.
In the third quarter, Halliburton completed an all-electric pad operation on a multi-year contract with Chesapeake Energy in the Marcellus shale. We deployed our electric fracturing spread with electric blending, wireline and ancillary equipment and an advanced power generation system from VoltaGrid. This high performing solution reduced Chesapeake's emission using over 25 megawatts of lower carbon power generation from Chesapeake's local field gas.
We are collaborating with an IOC in Mexico on their total carbon footprint reduction. Because we provide both well construction services and logistics services on this contract, we changed supply boat fueling mechanisms and optimized usage to achieve emissions reductions in the first year of operations. We are now using a similar contract structure to collaborate with this IOC on its other projects in Latin America.
We are also advancing renewable energy solutions through Halliburton Labs, our clean energy accelerator. In the third quarter, we doubled our size by increasing the number of Halliburton Labs companies from four to eight, welcoming Alumina Energy from California; Ionada from Ontario; and Parasanti, and SurgePower Materials from Texas. We help these companies scale their exciting technologies from innovative energy storage solutions to modular carbon capture systems.
In September, Halliburton Labs hosted its third Finalists Pitch Day featuring nine early-stage companies and an audience of several hundred entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and other professionals looking to engage with companies that advance cleaner affordable energy. The Halliburton Labs participants are achieving results. Enexor BioEnergy completed a $10 million Series A round of financing. Enexor's patented modular system uses locally-sourced organic or plastic waste to generate clean onsite energy even in the most remote and inaccessible location. Other accelerator participants achieved important scaling milestones in the third quarter.
With both current and expected demand increases, Halliburton remains committed to the priorities we set in 2020. We prioritize profitable growth and returns, remain focused on capital efficiency, and are keeping our overall capital investment in the range of 5% to 6% of revenue. I'm excited about the multi-year upcycle we see in front of us. I believe our value proposition, technology differentiation, digital adoption, and capital efficiency will allow us to deliver profitable growth internationally and maximize value in North America. Halliburton will continue to execute our key strategic priorities to deliver industry-leading returns and strong free cash flow for our shareholders.
Now I'll turn the call over to Lance to provide more details on our third quarter financial results. Lance?