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Halliburton says it also is part of U.S. fracking antitrust probe

The company logo of Halliburton oilfield services corporate offices is seen in Houston, Texas April 6, 2012. REUTERS/Richard Carson
The company logo of Halliburton oilfield services corporate offices is seen in Houston, Texas April 6, 2012. REUTERS/Richard Carson

(Reuters) - Halliburton Co, the largest provider of pressure pumping services used in hydraulic fracturing, said on Thursday it had also been contacted by the U.S. government regarding potential antitrust issues in the pressure pumping market.

Halliburton said it had received an information request from the U.S. Department of Justice. Rival Baker Hughes Inc disclosed the receipt of a civil investigative demand from the DOJ on May 30 in a quarterly filing late on Wednesday.

"We understand there have been other participants in the industry who have received similar correspondence from the DOJ, and we do not believe that we are being singled out for any particular scrutiny," Halliburton said in a statement, which added that it was cooperating with the investigation.

Halliburton did not disclose what information the government was seeking.

Baker Hughes said the request for documents and information covered the two years prior to May 30.

The year 2011 was a significant year for the pressure pumping market, during which capacity in North America expanded by an estimated 50 percent.

That has left the market severely oversupplied with pumping equipment for the past year and a half amid a prolonged slump in natural gas prices. The drop in gas prices led to a sharp drop in gas-directed drilling to an 18-year low in June.

The glut in equipment even forced FTS International, owner of North America's fourth-largest pressure pumping fleet - behind Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker - to withdraw its initial public offering late last year.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

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