Halliburton, the world’s second-biggest oilfield services provider, said Monday it will acquire its smaller rival Baker Hughes in a deal worth $34.6 billion in cash and stock. The offer will net Baker Hughes shareholders an immediate 31 percent profit.
The combined company had 2013 revenues of $51.8 billion, more than 136,000 employees and operations in more than 80 countries around the world, Halliburton said in a statement.
“The transaction will combine the companies’ product and service capabilities to deliver an unsurpassed depth and breadth of solutions to our customers, creating a Houston-based global oilfield services champion, manufacturing and exporting technologies, and creating jobs and serving customers around the globe,” Dave Lesar, chairman and CEO of Halliburton, said in a statement.
Normally I don’t pay too much attention to oilfield business news, but the combination of the two companies posed an irony that was too good to pass up.
Last April Baker Hughes announced it was going to start revealing the chemicals it uses in fracking fluid.
This got a lot of press, since the industry has secured exemptions from federal law that allow them to protect these chemicals as “trade secrets.” But there were disclaimers built in — a sentence buried in the company’s announcement made it clear the industry isn’t going to be reformed overnight. Baker Hughes said it will provide complete lists of the products and chemical ingredients used in frack fluids “where accepted by our customers and relevant governmental authorities.”
In other words, if their customers, who are drilling companies, and individual states, which are often in the pockets of the oil and gas industry, don’t want them to disclose, they won’t.
And now, who bought Baker Hughes? Halliburton, the namesake of the infamous “Halliburton Loophole,” embedded in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which pretty much turned over control of water quality to the oil and gas companies. The Halliburton Loophole one of the reasons why oil companies do not have to tell us what chemicals they use in the fracking process.
In case you’ve forgotten, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was pushed through by Vice President Dick Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton.
Halliburton is already busy replacing Baker Hughes’ Board of Directors.
So much for oil companies revealing the chemical ingredients in fracking.
Update, 11/21/14: Since I posted this I’ve seen a couple of news stories in the same vein. Here’s one from the Society of Environmental Journalists.