Still-tepid oil prices and one of the most active hurricane seasons on record prompted oil-exploration giant Schlumberger to post its third straight quarterly loss on Friday.
The Houston-based company posted a third-quarter loss of $82 million, or 6 cents a share, vs. a loss of $11.3 billion, or $8.22 a share, in the comparable year-earlier period. Excluding charges and credits, the company earned 16 cents a share, down from 43 cents a share a year ago though better than analysts' estimates of 13 cents a share.
Revenue came in at $5.3 billion, down 38% from $8.54 billion a year ago and below analysts’ forecasts of $5.4 billion. Cash flow from operations was $479 million, while free cash flow was $226 million.
The lower results were fueled by a drop in the company's U.S. offshore rig activity resulting from "lower multi-client seismic license sales and hurricane disruption," Schlumberger said.
At the same time, CEO Olivier Le Peuch said Schlumberger’s focus on “capital discipline” as well as cost efficiencies and technology innovation helped offset general volatility in oil markets resulting inclement weather, the pandemic and lack of demand.
While the company did not provide fourth-quarter estimates, Le Peuch noted that Schlumberger expects to continue to benefit from its “disciplined” approach in North America and the broad strength of its international business.
Still, “…while the global lockdowns are evolving and vaccine development is progressing, the near-term recovery remains fragile owing to potential subsequent waves of Covid-19 that could pose a significant risk to this outlook.”