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Agilent Inc. (A - Analyst Report) announced its 3-year collaboration with the University of Houston, U.S., to further research on the geology and composition of crude oil. The collaborative research will also consider the mechanics of shale gas extraction with a view to minimize its harmful effect on ground water.

The University’s Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department to further its petroleum research will use Agilent’s expertise in test instruments. Under the program, the University intends to create products to facilitate the discovery and exploration of crude oil.

Agilent is supplying vital test instruments worth $1.0 million, which have the capabilities to identify and measure various compounds of a sample. The study will be useful in locating new oil rich deposits. Agilent’s test and measurement technology will also help to identify superior processes that could improve the output and bring down the cost of refined products going forward.

According to a research conducted by Energy and Capital, global oil output is expected to reach 110 million barrels a day by 2020.

Of course, Agilent does have some formidable competition from companies like National Instruments Corporation (NATI - Snapshot Report) and Transcat Inc. among others.

Agilent’s revenue in the third quarter was flat sequentially and up 1.9% year over year, short of management’s expectations of a 2-3% sequential increase ($1.77 billion to $1.79 billion). The Electronic Measurement segment contributed 49.0% of revenue. The weakness was on the computing/semiconductor sides of the business. The Life Sciences segment generated 23.0% of revenue, down 1.0% sequentially and up 2.1% from last year. The Chemical Analysis segment generated 22.0% of third quarter revenue, down 8.8% sequentially and 7.0% year over year. The sequential decline was largely because of weakness in food testing.

Currently, Agilent Technologies has a Zacks #5 Rank, implying a short-term ‘Strong Sell’ rating.

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