Energy Business

Schlumberger Earnings: North America Remains a Trouble Spot

Drilling Rig
Source: Thinkstock
Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) reported first-quarter 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The oil field services firm posted adjusted diluted quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $1.01 on revenues of $10.67 billion. In the same period a year ago, Schlumberger reported EPS of $0.96 on revenues of $9.92 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $0.99 on revenues of $10.74 billion.

Sequentially, earnings were down 6% and revenues fell 5%. On a GAAP basis, EPS totaled $0.94 for the quarter, compared with $0.97 in the same period a year ago.

The company did not provide guidance in its press release, but the consensus estimate for the second quarter calls for EPS of $1.11 on revenues of $11.26 billion. For the full year, EPS is pegged at $4.67 and revenues at $45.98 billion. The full-year EPS estimate has fallen by $0.15 since Schlumberger reported fourth-quarter earnings, but the revenue estimate has increased by $39 billion.

The company’s CEO said:

International strength, in combination with resilience to challenging market conditions in North America, led to solid performance in the first quarter. While our sequential results displayed the effects of the normal seasonal slowdown in the Northern Hemisphere and the Far East, as well as lower product sales compared to the fourth quarter, our year-on-year figures demonstrated the potential of the international market, the strength of our execution, and the importance of our integration capabilities.

Schlumberger noted that its international growth “outpaced rig count,” with growth outside North America particularly strong. In North America, good results from Canada and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico “partially offset further pricing and activity weakness on land in the U.S.”

The firm continues to expect that global GDP will grow in 2013 and that oil and gas market fundamentals will grow as well. The one area that may not see strong growth is North America, where Schlumberger expects continued slower drilling activity and weak pricing. The company especially notes U.S. natural gas production: “[W]hile cold weather and flattening natural gas production has resulted in significant storage withdrawals, this has yet to result in any change in dry gas drilling activity.”

Shares are up 0.5% in premarket trading this morning, at $71.35 in a 52-week range of $59.12 to $82.00. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $91.50 before today’s results were announced.

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