Technip CEO Says ‘Bullish’ on North American Shale Prospects

Technip SA, Europe’s second-largest oilfield-services provider, is “bullish” about the prospects for development in North America because of the shale-energy boom, Chief Executive Officer Thierry Pilenko said.

The company sees future business in liquefied natural gas export terminals, gas to liquids development and petrochemicals and fertilizer plants, Pilenko said on a conference call today.

“Our perspective on the activities is pretty bullish,” and the company has reinforced teams and technology in the region, he said.

U.S. energy companies are developing vast reserves of natural gas, helping the nation meet 81 percent of its energy demand in 2011, the most since 1992, according to U.S. Energy Department data. Natural-gas prices have slumped 29 percent in the past 12 months because of shale development, lowering the costs of feedstock for the petrochemicals industry and raising the chances that the U.S. could approve LNG exports that would require new terminal infrastructure, Pilenko said.

Technip, which is based in Paris, is spending 225 million euros ($276 million) on Shaw Group Inc.’s Stone & Webster process technologies and oil and gas businesses, gaining 1,200 engineers and researchers.

Earnings Report

Technip reported steady second-quarter profit and said it hasn’t yet seen the effects of lower oil prices on demand. Net income rose to 134.2 million euros from 132.5 million euros a year earlier. Sales gained 23 percent to 2.05 billion euros.

The company, which maintained financial targets for 2012, had a record order backlog of 12.7 billion euros at the end of the second quarter, compared with 9.41 billion euros at the same time last year, it said in a statement. Brent-crude futures, a benchmark oil price used by much of the world, fell 7 percent from a year earlier to average $108.76 a barrel.

Development of oil projects in West Africa could be announced in the next 12 to 18 months including in Angola’s Block 32 and in Nigeria, Equitorial Guinea and Ghana, Pilenko said. Future projects in Mozambique could require a “significant amount of subsea work,” he said.

Technip raised its forecast for spending to more than 400 million euros this year compared with 357 million euros in 2011. That level may remain for a “little longer” and could include increasing capacity at its Asiaflex Products pipe plant in Malaysia, Chief Financial Officer Julian Waldron said.

Technip confirmed full-year financial targets published Feb. 16. It’s seeking revenue of 7.65 billion to 8 billion euros in 2012, with a subsea operating margin of about 15 percent and a margin for onshore-offshore of 6 percent to 7 percent.

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