Drilling Outside N.America Drives Schlumberger Profit


Jan 17 (Reuters) – Schlumberger Ltd, the world's largest oilfield services company, reported a better-than-expected 22 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as robust international drilling activity made up for weakness in North America.

Prices for oilfield services remain weak in the United States and Canada, where land drilling has slowed due to depressed natural gas prices. Most of Schlumberger's gains in North America came from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

"In the United States, we see no change in fundamentals, with any meaningful recovery in dry gas drilling activity some way out in the future," Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said.

Schlumberger has the lowest exposure to North America among the big four oilfield service providers, which also include Halliburton Co, Baker Hughes Inc and Weatherford International Ltd.

International markets brought in about two-thirds of Schlumberger's 2013 revenue of $45.27 billion.

The company is positive about 2014 as exploration and production spending is expected to increase in international markets and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Kibsgaard said.

Oil and gas companies are expected to spend about $723 billion on exploration and production this year, an increase of 6.1 percent from 2013, according to a Barclays Bank report released last month.


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