Schlumberger Third-quarter Profit Jumps as Drilling Activity Picks Up


Top oilfield services provider Schlumberger Ltd reported a 64.9% jump in third-quarter profit on Friday that topped Wall Street expectations as a surge in oil and gas prices led to more drilling activity.

 Oil and gas producers are looking to increase production as crude prices stay near eight-year highs, boosting demand for Schlumberger's equipment, services and technology. 

Brent crude prices averaged $98.96 a barrel during the quarter, up 33%. The average U.S. oil rig count at September-end climbed to 762 from 508 during the same period last year. The total international rig count was 28% higher at 1,853.

Net income was $907 million, or 63 cents a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $550 million, or 39 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts had expected Schlumberger to report earnings of 55 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES. The company said its adjusted earnings and pre-tax segment operating margin of 18.7% were the highest since 2015. 

"The pace of growth in our international business stepped up significantly, complementing already robust levels of activity in North America," said Chief Executive Officer Olivier Le Peuch in a statement. “While concerns remain over the broader economic climate, the energy industry fundamentals continue to be very constructive," he added, calling for more investment to rebalance markets in the face of an energy supply crunch and limited additional capacity. 

He anticipates Schlumberger will see continued revenue growth and margin expansion in the fourth quarter of this year. Shares were up 1.77% in pre-market trading to $46.50. Schlumberger's total revenue rose 28% to $7.48 billion, with international operations bringing in $5.88 billion. Wall Street had expected revenue of $7.1 billion for the quarter.

International revenue was up 13% sequentially and 26% from a year ago, while in North America revenue was flat compared to the prior quarter but up 37% from last year. 

Rival Baker Hughes Co. topped Wall Street expectations for third-quarter adjusted profit on Wednesday. Halliburton Co reports its quarterly results next week.

(Reuters - Reporting by Ruhi Soni in Bengaluru and Liz Hampton in Denver; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Mark Potter)

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