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Seadrill Ltd (SDRL), Halliburton Company (HAL): Where’s the Best Place For Your Capital?

Mexico has a problem. Its oil exports are falling, and the government needs to boost production. In the current, postmodern age, governments like Mexico, Brazil, and others prefer to maintain mineral ownership and either contract out the drilling work or establish a nationalized oil company. By investing in quality oil and gas service firms you can grow your portfolio, even if the majority of reserves are held by national oil companies.

The Seaborne Option

Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) rents out drilling ships and jackup rigs. Seadrill’s current fleet status report shows just how critical national oil companies are for the company. Between Mexico’s Pemex, Norway’s Statoil, Brazil’s Petrobras, Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramaco, and the jointly Russian and Vietnamese owned Vietsovpetro, a significant portion of Seadrill’s vessels are in the hands of national oil companies. 

Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL)Mexico has recently pushed to open up its energy sector with profit sharing agreements. Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) stands to benefit, as it already has experience working with the Mexican state oil company, Pemex. The driller has already proven to Pemex that it is more than able to drill in challenging deepwater fields, allowing Pemex to choose Seadrill in the future without hesitation. Seadrill’s ships have drilled some of Pemex’s deepest wells, and Pemex has already agreed to use its West Pegasus semi-submersible vessel until 2016.

Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is very challenging. Many storms pass through the region ever year, threatening rigs and their crews’ lives. Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) has a number of semi-submersibles and drillships under construction that can drill up to 40 thousand feet. These new ships are safer for their crews and the wells, allowing Seadrill to charge higher day rates.

Traditional Oil Service Firms

While Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL)  has a large amount of experience working in conventional and unconventional plays in the U.S., it is also well acquainted with national oil companies. In the Middle East, Saudi Aramco recently contracted Halliburton to drill wells and develop the Qatif field.

Mexico is no different, and Halliburton will be working in the Chicontepec field near the Gulf coast. Due to challenging geology, Pemex has asked Halliburton to provide a variety of services from the geophysics to production operations.

Mexico has significant fracking possibilities, and Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) is ready to meet the nation’s needs. To ease Pemex’s environmental fears, Halliburton has already demonstrated its Zipper Frac technique in the nation and decreased water use by 50% compared to conventional fracking. Mexico is estimated to have 2.5 to 7 times more shale gas reserves than conventional gas. Right now Mexico is paying for expensive LNG imports in cities like Manzanillo, and the nation would be greatly benefited if Pemex can develop its domestic shale opportunities with Halliburton.

Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB) is a larger oil and gas services company and is active in many similar markets to Halliburton. In Mexico, Schlumberger is using its LIVE digital slickline technology in offshore fields to increase production without needing to bring a significant amount of new equipment online. In Southern Mexico, the company was able to save Pemex 96 drilling hours by using its turbodrilling application, instead of a conventional drilling system. 

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