"Stronger for longer." It has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? Obviously, the folks at oilfield services majordomo Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB ) think it does, since they've adopted it to describe their view of the current cycle for spending in energy exploration and production.
Fulfilling that motto led to a sound quarter for the company, which Friday led off its sector's parade for reporting second-quarter results. At $1.42 million in income from continuing operations, it beat last year's results by 13%. And its $1.16 on the per-share line topped the 1.02 from a year ago.
You probably recall that, as big as Schlumberger is, it operates through just two easily understood sectors: Oilfield services, which provides all manner of help to oil and gas producers in developing and prolonging the life of reservoirs, easily was the star in the quarter. Its revenues were up by 22% and its pretax operating income grew by 13%. For the other unit, seismic star WesternGeco, operating income fell by 9%. Given the new business reeled in by the company, though, I'm betting the drop will be temporary.
I'm going to suggest that Fools with even a smidgeon of interest in oilfield services take the time to look over the company's earnings release. You'll learn how, for example, one operator in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico "set three consecutive sub-salt drilling records" using several Schlumberger services.
And you'll read about the company's innovative work for PetroChina (NYSE: PTR ) , StatoilHydro (NYSE: STO ) , and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) -- along with a host of state oil companies. It's an intriguing and informative hopscotch around the global quest for oil and gas.
Clearly, Schlumberger's view of a strengthening cycle for worldwide exploration and production is heartening. And reports next week from Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ) and Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI ) should provide added color on the industry's present and likely future directions.
For my money, however, I know of few companies in any sector that wear the mantel of leadership as effectively as does Schlumberger in oilfield services.
For related Foolishness: