Schlumberger picks up in fourth quarter

Andrew Gould welcomes activity gains but warns that WesternGeco’s turnaround depends on ’Q’.

Speaking to the investment community on presentation of Schlumberger’s fourth quarter and full year 2003 results, chairman and CEO Andrew Gould noted ‘very encouraging’ activity gains in the fourth quarter with record activity levels in most segments. Improvement should continue as the world’s ageing production base is renovated in response to rising consumption. Oilfield Services revenue of $8.82 billion increased 8% in 2003 with strong demand for Schlumberger Information Solutions services. Schlumberger is to retain the oil and gas related IT services from Sema Group and this activity will be rolled into Oilfield Services. In 2003 these services generated $311 million revenue.


WesternGeco had a tough year—with the workforce downsized 33% and a pretax profit of $71 million in 2002 transformed into an operating loss in $20 million. Gould was asked if WesternGeco is really core business to Schlumberger—and replied that it all depends on ‘Q’—WesternGeco’s super high density recording system. This is producing ‘spectacular’ results and Gould believes that clients will rally to the technology. Encouragingly, Q year on year revenues doubled and a sharp improvement reported from the seismic business unit in the fourth quarter. A ‘sustained increase’ in enquiries for land seismics was a positive sign—but Gould warned—‘We are not off to the races! It looks more hopeful than six months ago.’

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