SCHLUMBERGER Q3 2015: DOWN 49%
Schlumberger Chairman and CEO Paal Kibsgaard commented, “Schlumberger third-quarter revenue decreased 6% sequentially driven by a continuing decline in rig activity and persistent pricing pressure throughout our global operations. North America revenue fell 4% sequentially as we focused on balancing margins and market share, while International revenue dropped 7% due to customer budget cuts, activity disruptions, and service pricing erosion.
“The business environment deteriorated further in the third quarter. However, the cost reduction actions we took in previous quarters and the acceleration of our transformation program enabled us to protect our financial performance in what is shaping up to be the most severe downturn in the industry for decades. As a result of our actions, we have been able to deliver pretax operating margins well above those seen in any previous downturn and we have continued to generate significant liquidity with free cash flow of $1.7 billion in the third quarter, representing 170% of earnings.
“During the first nine months of 2015, our year-on-year revenue has dropped by 34% in North America, and 18% internationally. In spite of the size of these declines, our decremental operating margins over the same period have been limited to 34% in North America, and 23% internationally. These figures continue to be substantially better than those we delivered in the 2009 downturn.
“Among the business segments, Drilling Group revenue fell 7% sequentially during the third quarter driven by weakening drilling activity and by persistent pricing pressure in both North America and the International Areas. Production Group and Reservoir Characterization Group revenues each declined 5% as activity and pricing for pressure pumping services on land in North America continued to drop and as demand for exploration-related products and services decreased further internationally.
“As we enter the last quarter of the year, the oil market is still weighed down by fears of reduced growth in Chinese demand and the expectations regarding the timing and magnitude of additional Iranian supply. However, the fundamental balance of supply and demand continues to tighten, driven by both solid global macroeconomic growth and by weakening supply as the dramatic cuts in E&P investments are starting to take effect. We expect this trend to continue as the oil market further recognizes the magnitude of the industry’s annual production replacement challenge.
“However, for oilfield services, the market outlook for the coming quarters looks increasingly challenging with activity expected to be reduced further, as lack of available cash flow exhausts capital spending for a number of our customers, leading them to take a conservative view on 2016 E&P spending in spite of any gradual improvement in oil prices. In addition, the winter season will have the normal impact on activity in the fourth quarter, which this year is unlikely to be offset by the usual year-end sales of software, products and multiclient licenses.
“In light of conservative customer budgets for next year, we are therefore entering another period during which we will continually adjust resources in line with activity, as the recovery now appears to be delayed. We remain focused on managing our cost base, and are further accelerating our transformation program to help offset the impact of lower service pricing. As we navigate the current commercial landscape, we still look to strike a balance between market share and operating margins, while continuing to seek opportunities to extend our portfolio through targeted M&A, such as our transaction with Cameron, where integration planning is already well advanced.
“At Schlumberger, we remain confident in our capability to weather this downturn significantly better than our surroundings. Through our global reach, the strength of our technology offering, and our transformation program we are creating the leverage to increase market share, post superior earnings, and continue to deliver unmatched levels of free cash flow while bringing value for our customers through improving production, increasing recovery, and lowering cost per barrel.”
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