Schlumberger Waiting for Rise in Global Oil Spending

Schlumberger Waiting for  Rise in Global Oil Spending
Schlumberger Waiting for  Rise in Global Oil Spending

Schlumberger Ltd. is waiting for the rest of the world’s oil producers to catch up to the North American crude recovery.

The world’s largest oilfield service provider sees international spending picking up in the second half of the year and into 2018, Chief Executive Officer Paal Kibsgaard told analysts and investors in an earnings conference call Friday, Bloomberg reported.

That will follow growth in North America, which has been adding rigs as oil prices stabilized and is forecast to see spending increase about 30%, he said. The promise of international growth was not enough for investors -- Schlumberger fell the most in more than a month.

"They’re a little bit less exposed to onshore North America than others," Rob Desai, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis, said in a phone interview. "There will be a little bit slower international recovery, and given Schlumberger is more international, they’ll benefit a little less near term."

Schlumberger, which generates most of its sales outside the US and Canada, reported a narrower loss in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier. Service companies that help explorers map pockets of underground oil, drill wells and boost output were first to feel the effects of the collapse in oil prices that began in mid-2014. 

They were also hit the hardest, contributing more than three-quarters of the 440,000 jobs slashed around the world during the oil industry’s worst financial crisis in a generation.

Schlumberger acquired Cameron International Corp. for $2.7 billion during the downturn, seeking to broaden its oilfield-equipment manufacturing. That unit is expected to hit a low for sales and margins in the first three months of the year, with margins improving in the second quarter, Scott Rowe, who heads the group, said on the call.

The company reported net loss of $204 million, or 15 cents a share, after a loss of $1.02 billion, or 81 cents, a year earlier, according to a statement Friday. Excluding certain items, the profit was 27 cents, more than the 26-cent average of 38 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue fell 8.2% to $7.1 billion.

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