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Baker Hughes to focus on gas, LNG amid energy transition: CEO


Wants to help customers reduce carbon footprints

LNG final investment decisions in 2020 seen lagging 2019 level

  • Author
  • Jodi Shafto
  • Editor
  • Richard Rubin
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas Oil
  • Topic
  • Energy Transition Environment and Sustainability

Anticipating demand growth for natural gas and LNG as critical elements of the energy transition, Baker Hughes remains committed to driving growth in its businesses that support a lower-carbon future, it said Wednesday.

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Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO of the Houston-based oilfield services company, said Baker Hughes is committed to helping its customers reduce their carbon footprints. The company previously announced its plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Natural gas will be the key transition fuel and possibly a destination fuel for a lower-carbon future, the CEO said. As a result, demand will grow at more than twice the pace of oil over the next 10 years, while LNG demand will climb at an annual rate of 4% to 5%, he said.

"Against this backdrop, we believe that Baker Hughes is uniquely positioned to provide technologies and solutions that help our customers lower their carbon footprint," Simonelli said during its fourth-quarter earnings call.

Products offered through its Turbomachinery and Process Solutions segment, or TPS segment, provide growth opportunities for Baker Hughes in 2020, Simonelli said. The segment saw fourth-quarter 2019 orders decline about 10% on the year to $1.9 billion, while equipment orders fell 16% year over year with a book-to-bill of 1.5. However, the company also booked an award for the liquefaction equipment on Total's Mozambique Area 1 LNG project and won orders in onshore/offshore production projects, including two floating production storage and offloading awards in Latin America.

The CEO said LNG final investment decisions in 2020 would lag behind the 2019 levels. Still, the outlook for the segment remains constructive as the company executes the largest backlog in its history and expects continued growth in services and non-LNG equipment awards, Simonelli said.

CFO Brian Worrell said revenue for the TPS segment would grow by roughly 20% and margins will continue to expand from 2019 levels. Revenue conversion is weighted towards the second half of the year based on project timing, and orders for the segment could be flat to lower in the low double digits compared to 2019, he said.

"As you know, timing of large projects can vary, which drives a wide range of scenarios. As we think about the first quarter, we expect TPS revenues to be roughly flat with first quarter 2019 levels," Worrell said. The CFO sees solid margin-growth improvement on a year-over-year basis.

Baker Hughes on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted net income attributable to the company of $179 million, or 27 cents/share, rising from $120 million, or 26 cents/share, in the year-ago quarter. The results were below the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate for the fourth quarter of 2019 of 31 cents/share.