Schlumberger Profit Falls Sharply

EnergyDow Jones Newswires

Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB) said its third-quarter earnings fell 82% on lower revenue and expenses related to the oil-field services acquisition of Cameron International Corp. earlier this year.

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Schlumberger and other companies in the oil-field services sector have been hurt by weak demand from oil and natural-gas producers for services such as drilling and completing oil-and-gas wells.

Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said Schlumberger's business stabilized in the third quarter, though visibility remains limited regarding spending by oil-and-gas companies for 2017 because the company's customers are still in their planning stages.

"We maintain that a broad-based V-shaped recovery is unlikely given the fragile financial state of the industry, although we do see activity upside in 2017 in North America land, the Middle East and Russia markets," Mr. Kibsgaard said.

Schlumberger's results come a day after rival Halliburton Co. posted a small third-quarter profit that its executives attributed to U.S. energy company customers starting to return to drilling this summer as crude prices moved back toward $50 a barrel.

Still Halliburton executives sounded a note of caution that the fourth quarter could slow due to holiday and seasonal weather-related downtime before activity picks back up in early 2017. It was also the first quarter Halliburton was relieved of hefty charges related to its failed tie-up with rival Baker Hughes Inc., which is scheduled to report third-quarter results Tuesday.

The three oil-services giants each have shed thousands of workers in efforts to offset weaker demand from energy producers during the downturn.

In all, Schlumberger reported a third-quarter profit of $176 million, or 13 cents a share, down from $989 million, or 78 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items such as acquisition-related charges, adjusted per-share earnings were 25 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share profit of 22 cents.

Revenue declined 17% to $7.02 billion, while analysts expected $7.08 billion.

In Schlumberger's North American business, revenue dropped 25% to $1.7 billion. Outside the U.S., Schlumberger's revenue declined 13% to $5.25 billion.

The three months ended Sept. 30, marked the second period that Schlumberger's results include Cameron, which makes drilling equipment and supplies maintenance equipment to pipelines, refineries and oil-and-gas wells.

By Tess Stynes

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