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March 18 (Reuters) - Austrian oilfield equipment producer Schoeller-Bleckmann (SBO) said on Wednesday it is seeing weakness in its North American market due to the coronavirus outbreak and the oil production conflict between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Saudi Arabia and Russia are in a war for market share after the two top producers failed to agree to extend supply curbs to support the market, which led to a significant drop in prices that is being made worse by the coronavirus epidemic.
Countries all over the world are taking unprecedented steps to contain the virus, which has killed more than 7,900 and infected more than 198,600, and demand for fuels has dropped as numerous governments told residents to restrict their movements while businesses shutter.
“North America will remain weak due to the low oil price. On the international markets, there is hope that the oil and gas companies’ spending for exploration and production will be adjusted only moderately,” Chief Executive Gerald Grohmann said.
However, SBO’s international business helped to offset the downward trend due to the high investment discipline on the North American market, the company said as it confirmed its preliminary full-year results.
The company, which builds highly specialised oilfield exploration equipment including odd-angle drilling and fracking gear for a range of energy companies, also proposed a dividend hike to 1.20 euros from 1.0 euro.
Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk, editing by Louise Heavens