Schlumberger profit rises on international strength

Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:43am EDT

(Reuters) - Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N), the world's largest oilfield services company, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, lifted by its strength outside the volatile North American market and its exposure to the offshore drilling boom.

The company stuck to its positive outlook for the rest of this year, despite recent signs from industry data that global oilfield activity could be slowing amid uncertainty about the world economy.

Schlumberger said third-quarter net income had risen 9 percent to $1.42 billion, or $1.07 per share, from $1.30 billion, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, earnings came to $1.08 per share, while analysts on average expected $1.06, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue increased 11 percent to $10.61 billion.

The latest count of active rigs outside North America, as measured by rival Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N), is up just 6 percent so far this year at 1,254, against Schlumberger's expectations of 10 percent growth.

But Paal Kibsgaard, Schlumberger's chief executive officer, said international pricing continued a steady upward trend in the third quarter.

"We still expect our international activity to grow in excess of 10 percent in 2012," he said. "In North America on the other hand, the strength in Gulf of Mexico activity will continue to be challenged by weakness in the land hydraulic fracturing market and early signs of softening in the land coiled-tubing business."

Nearest competitor Halliburton Co (HAL.N), the U.S. market leader and the largest fracking company, reported a weaker-than-expected profit on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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