Oil services company Schlumberger Ltd. to pay more than $232M in sanctions violations case

Energy Associated Press

The world's largest oil services company, Schlumberger Ltd., has agreed to a penalty of more than $232 million and one of its subsidiaries will plead guilty to trade sanctions violations, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

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The criminal case against Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd. resolves a yearslong investigation into allegations that the wholly owned subsidiary had illegally conducted business from Texas with Sudan and Iran in violation of U.S. economic sanctions.

The subsidiary will plead guilty in federal court in Washington to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. As part of the plea deal, the company has agreed to cooperate with the government and will spend three years under corporate probation.

"Knowingly circumventing sanctions undermines their efficacy and has the potential to harm both U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives," Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a written statement. "The guilty plea and significant financial penalty in this case underscore that skirting sanctions for financial gain is a risk corporations ought not take."

According to the Justice Department, a Texas-based business segment of the company, Drilling and Measurements, provided oilfield services to Schlumberger customers in Sudan and Iran. Prosecutors say the entity approved and disguised capital expenditure requests from Iran and Sudan for the manufacture of new oilfield drilling tools, made business decisions concerning those countries and provided technical services.

Schlumberger has principal offices in Paris, Houston, London and The Hague. A phone message left with the Schlumberger office in Houston was not immediately returned.