Schlumberger Beats Estimates

It worries winter may be warm, though.
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Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Report earnings nearly doubled for the third quarter, as the driller saw revenue surge 32% in its core oilfield services business.

The New York-based company made $1 billion, or 81 cents a share, from continuing operations for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up from the year-ago $540 million, or 44 cents a share. Revenue rose to $4.95 billion from $3.7 billion a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 77-cent profit on sales of $4.94 billion.

In oilfield services, pretax operating income rose 68% from a year ago to $1.21 billion as revenue hit $4.3 billion.

At WesternGeco, income more than doubled to $242 million as revenue surged 51% from a year ago to $659 million.

"Continuing strength in seismic activity and increased demand for drilling services and well placement technologies were the highlights of the robust performance in the third quarter," said CEO Andrew Gould. "The outstanding results at WesternGeco, where revenues grew 17% sequentially, were due to significant strength in multiclient data sales and high marine utilization. With more than 85% of WesternGeco acquisition activity now focused on exploration and appraisal operations, the industry's effort to replace and increase reserves is now clearly underway."

Gould said Schlumberger believes there could be some pressure on natural gas activity and resulting excess capacity if there isn't a cold winter.

The company said it bought back 8 million shares for an average $59 apiece in the quarter.