Worst of oil market crash may be over say Schlumberger, Halliburton

Two of the world's largest providers of oilfield drilling and fracking services say that the worst of the two-year oil market crash might be over.

Schlumberger Ltd said on Thursday that the oil industry appeared to have hit the bottom of the cycle.

The statement comes after rival Halliburton Co, on Wednesday said the North American market reached its lowest point in the second quarter and was poised for modest growth the rest of this year.

''They're the two dominant players in the market, both of whom just called the bottom,'' James West, an analyst at Evercore-ISI in New York, told Bloomberg in an interview. ''It's a positive. Calling the bottom in the market sends the right signal and Schlumberger has a ton of credibility.''

With the downturn dragging on, executives at the world's largest oilfield services provider had had to push back their expectations for an improvement in drilling and fracking work, with crude prices steadying at around 50 per cent lower than their peak in 2014.

The recovery is expected to be slow and steady, with a wave increasing service costs putting pressure on the explorers getting back to work,  Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard told analysts and investors on a conference call Friday.

Kibsgaard said, ''What has taken place over the past 21 months is instead a redistribution of the profit and cash flow shortfall from previously sitting mostly with the oil producers to now representing an unsustainable burden for the supplier industry even after a massive reduction of costs and capacity.''