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Big Oil's Hired Hands Chase Foreign Boom as U.S. Shale Moderates

  • Schlumberger reports earnings Friday, Halliburton Monday
  • Profits probably rose in third quarter as spending recovered
Pumpjacks operate on oil wells in the Permian Basin.
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The biggest providers of oilfield services are surfing a wave of international spending on the back of higher prices, but the good news is tempered by an activity slowdown in their own back yard.

While Schlumberger Ltd., Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes are projected to report third-quarter earnings that are higher year-on-year, analysts have been cutting their estimates in recent weeks, as it becomes clear the U.S. shale market will cool off.