July 21, 2017 / 11:16 AM / 8 months ago

Schlumberger beats on North American drilling; sees global recovery

(Reuters) - Top oilfield services provider Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N) said on Friday it would redeploy all of its pressure pumping fleet by early next quarter as demand rises in North America and most of its international markets.

FILE PHOTO: The exterior of a Schlumberger Corporation building is pictured in West Houston January 16, 2015. REUTERS/Richard Carson

North American shale producers have ramped up drilling in recent quarters as oil prices bounced back from their lows in 2016, when they hit about $27 per barrel.

Crude in the second quarter averaged $48.15 per barrel, and companies added 506 onshore rigs in the past year, according to a closely watched Baker Hughes report.

Schlumberger and rivals such as Halliburton (HAL.N) and Baker Hughes GE Co (BHGE.N), which help explorers locate oil and prepare drill-wells, are bringing back equipment they stacked during the downturn.

Houston-based Schlumberger said on Friday that North American revenue jumped 18 percent and international revenue rose 4 percent in the latest quarter from the preceding.

Chief Executive Paul Kibsgaard said on an earnings call he was “somewhat positively surprised” in terms of activity in international markets.

“The market has viewed international with the expectation that it will be weak until oil gets up to the $50-$60,” said Brian Youngberg, an energy analyst with Edward Jones.

“The comment that there are signs of life below $50 (oil)could be positive.”

To tap the improving demand in international markets, Schlumberger said it would buy a majority stake in Russia’s biggest oilfield services firm, Eurasia Drilling Co (EDC).

“The purchase of the Eurasia group is sort of a bet that international markets are going to keep advancing,” said Stewart Glickman, energy equity analyst at CFRA Research in New York.

    U.S. onshore revenue soared 42 percent in the latest quarter from the preceding, as fracking revenue was boosted by companies completing more wells and better pricing.

    “We expect U.S. land activity to remain strong throughout the second half of the year, with a frac calendar already fully booked well into Q4,” said Patrick Schorn, executive vice president of new ventures at Schlumberger.

    Total revenue rose 4.2 percent to $7.46 billion in the second quarter, beating the average analysts’ estimate of $7.23 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Excluding items, the company earned 35 cents per share, handily beating expectation of 30 cents.

    The company’s shares rose as much as 3 percent to $68.96, before paring some gains. Gains were limited by a fall in oil prices that dragged down the broader energy index.

    Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru and Liz Hampton in Houston; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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