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Schlumberger Drills Estimate

The shares are poised for another bump up.
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Shareholders who bid up


(SLB) - Get Schlumberger NV Report

47% in 2005 saw their faith rewarded Friday when the oil-services giant posted fourth-quarter earnings that doubled from a year ago.

New York-based Schlumberger, whose shares have tacked on another 18% since the first of the year, earned $660.6 million, or $1.08 a share, in the quarter, compared with $329.8 million, or 55 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 31% from a year ago to $4.02 billion as the company feasted on the 2005 oil rush.

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Analysts were expecting earnings of 96 cents a share on sales of $3.88 billion in the most recent quarter.

Schlumberger's biggest segment, oilfield services, saw revenue rise 30% from a year ago to $3.57 billion, while pretax operating income rose 76% to $852 million. Its WesternGeco unit, which does seismic exploration, saw revenue rise 39% from a year ago to $464 million and operating income rise 156% to $110 million.

In premarket trading, Schlumberger shares rose $2.10, or 1.8%, to $116.97.

In an industry overview contained in its quarterly report, Schlumberger said a preponderance of onshore rig construction, high levels of exploration and a shortage of skilled workers will put a premium on its products and services in 2006. It predicted sales growth in 2006 that is similar to the 25% it put up in full-year 2005.

That gain implies revenue of $17.89 billion in 2006. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting $16.75 billion.