Halliburton Co , the world's second-largest oilfield services company, reported a 47 percent drop in quarterly profit as spending on oil and natural gas projects in North America slumped sharply.

Second-quarter net profit fell to $262 million, or 29 cents per share, from $504 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier as revenue fell to $3.49 billion from $4.49 billion, the company said on Monday.

Excluding a $12 million charge to cut its employee headcount, Halliburton posted earnings per share of 30 cents, topping the 26 cents per share that analysts had forecast, according to Reuters Estimates. Analysts had also expected revenue of $3.41 billion.

Last month, Goldman Sachs cut its ratings on Halliburton and other stocks exposed to natural gas because of persistent weakness in North America's huge gas market.

On Friday, Baker Hughes Inc said the number of U.S. rigs drilling for gas hit a seven-year low of 665.

(Reporting by Matt Daily, with additional reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)