Top oilfield services provider Schlumberger NV on Oct. 16 posted its third straight quarterly loss as this year’s prolonged slump in oil prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic compelled its major energy customers to shun drilling.
The company kicked off earnings from hard-hit U.S. oilfield service providers as new lockdowns in some parts of the world due to a resurgence in infections threaten a recovery in oil demand. Global oil prices were around $42.66 per barrel on early Oct. 16.
North America has fared much worse than international services markets, with Schlumberger’s revenue from the region falling to $1.16 billion, from $2.85 billion a year earlier.
Total revenue plunged 38% to $5.26 billion.
“International activity is steady following budgets resets completed in the third quarter,” CEO Olivier Le Peuch said in an earnings release. He also said North America was “set for continued momentum,” pointing to more drilled-but-uncompleted well completions and a modest resumption in drilling activity.
Shares were up 2.95% to $16.42 in pre-market trading.
Last month, Schlumberger agreed to sell its North American shale fracking business to rival Liberty Oilfield Services in move by Le Peuch to restructure. He has bet on asset sales, salary cuts, and job reductions to weather the stubbornly low oil prices. He has also pushed for new technology partnerships and to accelerate an expansion of Schlumberger’s New Energy business, which will focus on a more sustainable energy mix.
The company recorded charges of $310 million in the third quarter, adding to the over $12 billion it took in the previous two quarters.
Schlumberger reported a net loss of $82 million, or 6 cents per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Excluding charges and credits, it earned 16 cents per share in the quarter, helped by aggressive cost cuts.
The company reported a net loss of $11.38 billion, or $8.22 per share, a year earlier, due to impairment charges on some of the company's past investments.
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