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2013 has been a stellar year for shares of oil service giant
SLB). Since the calendar flipped over to January, SLB has rallied more than 25%, beating the broad market's impressive pace by double digits. As oil prices linger on the high end of their historic range, SLB is well positioned to keep ticking higher.
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Schlumberger provides must-have services to national and supermajor oil firms as well as smaller E&Ps, offering up niche services like seismic surveys and well drilling and positioning. In a nutshell, SLB's job is to pull oil out of the ground as efficiently as possible. Oil firms turn to Schlumberger because the tasks they need to accomplish are too nuanced or proprietary to pull off in-house. So as long as the company continues to pour cash into R&D for drilling technology and software, the firm should continue to score lucrative contracts.
Some of Schlumberger's most attractive opportunities right now come from overseas. The firm is one of the largest oil servicers in Russia, a key growth market in the years ahead. It's also got an important presence in smaller oil markets, where it's a big fish in a small pond. A big scale and stellar reputation should guarantee Schlumberger an attractive piece of the oil pie for years to come.