Schlumberger targets equipment reliability on par with autos

Sept 12 Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:06pm EDT

Sept 12 (Reuters) - Schlumberger Ltd plans to make better use of its equipment and ensure a performance quality in line with that of the automotive industry, which would mean a dramatic improvement for the world's largest oilfield services company.

As part of a broader corporate push by Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard to achieve annual earnings per share growth in double digits, he is targeting what he called "five sigma" reliability for all its service lines.

"This improvement, which means a 90 percent reduction in failure frequency compared to current levels, will come in part from the improved reliability of our new-generation products, as well as from a step-change in the quality of our work processes and procedures," Kibsgaard said on Thursday, according to a transcript of his remarks.

The improved equipment will also work much harder. Over lunch at the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York, Kibsgaard said Schlumberger would double its asset utilization by reducing the need for back-up equipment due to the better reliability, less maintenance downtime and a sharper supply chain.

As for how the company has done so far in the third quarter, Kibsgaard saw strong activity in the Middle East and Asia, driven by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China and Australia, while in Latin America, challenges in Mexico and Brazil were largely offset by work elsewhere in the region.

Russia remained very strong, while there some shutdowns in the North Sea as well as security challenges in North Africa, and operational delays in sub-Saharan Africa, Kibsgaard said.

U.S. land activity was solid, with pricing on a slowing downward trend, while activity in the Gulf of Mexico was at record levels, he added.

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