We issued an updated research report on Schlumberger Limited (SLB - Free Report) on Jan 25.
Schlumberger recently reported strong fourth-quarter 2017 results. Earnings of 48 cents per share (excluding charges and credits) beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 44 cents and the year-ago figure of 27 cents. Surge in SIS software sales, ramp up of drilling operations in Colombia and Argentina along with higher pricing in North America’s onshore market supported the strong results.
Banking on the bullishness, Schlumberger — the largest oilfield services player in the world, with presence in the world’s prospective energy market — issued a positive outlook for 2018. The company, which plans to exit its marine and land seismic acquisition services, believes that the positive oil market sentiment will drive investments by upstream operators in North America shale plays. It is to be noted that the partial recovery in crude price has favored explorers like Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG - Free Report) , EOG Resources (EOG - Free Report) and Matador Resources Company (MTDR - Free Report) .
Increased investment in shale operations in North America might result in higher demand for Schlumberger’s oilfield services. Meanwhile, the international market is expected to witness 5% higher spending in 2018 following three years of decline.
We appreciate the company’s increased reliance on lucrative international markets. Being the leading provider of technology for complex oilfield projects, Schlumberger is better positioned than most peers to take up offshore projects in the shallow water basins outside North America.
However, Schlumberger has lesser exposure to U.S. shale plays — where more drillers have gathered following a partial recovery in crude prices. This is reflected in the fact that during the third and fourth quarter of 2017, the company generated 33% and 34% of revenues from North America. Thus, the low exposure deprives Schlumberger of profitable contracts from shale drillers.
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