Schlumberger expects first quarter revenue to fall 15 percent from fourth quarter

(Reuters) - Schlumberger Ltd SLB.N, the world's largest oilfield services provider, said revenue in the current quarter is expected to fall 15 percent from the fourth, as spending cuts by oil producers take a toll.

The exterior of a Schlumberger Corporation building is pictured in West Houston January 16, 2015. REUTERS/Richard Carson

The company forecast revenue of $6.5 billion for the first quarter ending March, lower than the average analyst estimate of $6.94 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“The third phase of E&P spending reductions that we are currently experiencing will have a significant impact on our earnings per share in the current and coming quarters,” Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said at an energy conference on Monday.

Kibsgaard, whose comments are closely watched, also called for a change in the way the oil and gas industry operates.

There is an urgent need for a change in the way the energy industry works given that oil prices are expected to be “medium-for-longer”, Kibsgaard said in his keynote address at the Scotia Howard Weil Energy Conference.

The cost reductions by oil and natural gas producers over the past 18 months were not linked to efficiency improvements, Kibsgaard said, adding they were the result of pricing concessions from oilfield services providers.

Under the current model, oil producers split drilling and production work into smaller parts, and then seek bids from service providers.

But this model has led to inefficiencies due to a lack of collaboration between operators and suppliers, Kibsgaard said.

Schlumberger — which is buying equipment maker Cameron International Corp CAM.N for $14.8 billion deal — is developing total drilling and production systems to move away from single components, Kibsgaard said.

Kibsgaard also hinted at more job cuts, saying the company will continue to match costs and resources to activity.

Schlumberger has cut 34,000 jobs, or 26 percent of its workforce, since November 2014.

The company’s shares were marginally higher at $73.82 in early trading.

Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Sriraj Kalluvila