The Main Reason Schlumberger Looks Good

Some behemoths in the oil and gas industry will always perform despite changing market conditions and other circumstances. Their services and reach is much bigger than any singular event's ability to affect their standing. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) is the name to consider in the exploration and production space. Constantly reinventing its strategy, this giant has always stayed ahead in the game.

The boss
In oil-field services, we have a giant who has been reinventing itself and constantly coming up with innovations and technological advances, and that is why -- you guessed it -- Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) has ensured that it's ahead of the pack.

The advent of shale plays has thrown up hindrances to drilling that require technological advances to overcome. Schlumberger has always been game for the challenge. Going through the company's 2011 filings and press releases, the one thing you will notice is the emphasis on the implementation of advanced technologies. Given that, should I be overly surprised with the more-than-50% growth in revenues in the past few quarters? I think not. Now the question is: Are the factors behind these growing revenues expected to drive the company forward in the next 12 months? We'll see.

Going to the wire
The company's Wireline and Testing Services activities have shown a lot of promise in the last 12 months. And going into 2012, this is one segment that I'm pretty bullish about. Wireline technology allows tools and other equipment to be lowered into a well for logging and evaluation purposes using an electric cable. Across the globe, exploration projects have increased and wireline testing has been an integral part for any newly drilled well. That's where Schlumberger's influence is far-reaching. Exploration projects in Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, Russia, India, and Poland should remain in place for the better part of 2012.

In December, Schlumberger expanded its wireline technology portfolio with the acquisition of ThruBit, a specialist in horizontal drilling operations providing open-hole wireline logging services. The acquisition underlines the attention Schlumberger has showered upon this relatively new piece of technology.

To find oil, you have to drill
Drilling services are as important. The unconventional shale plays in Canada and the U.S. are booming. Along with deepwater and exploration activities in Brazil, M-I SWACO Technologies -- which Schlumberger acquired when it merged with Smith International -- ensured solid revenue growth. It's definitely a strong revenue driver that should continue for a long time.

In the North American scene, Schlumberger has two of the continent's largest natural gas producers, ExxonMobil and Chesapeake (NYSE: CHK  ) , as customers. And that's why I'm all the more bullish about the company. Chesapeake has been developing its shale plays at a feverish pace. Exxon, through its unconventional gas provider XTO Energy, has ramped up natural gas production in the U.S. and Qatar, which should continue for the next couple of years.

Foolish bottom line
Schlumberger looks like a great stock to invest in for 2012. However, The Motley Fool has also prepared a new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." Thousands have already requested access and it'll only be available for a limited time. To get instant access, simply click here -- it's free."

Fool contributor Isac Simon does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 1:06 PM, MCrawley1970 wrote:

    As I own some shares in SLB, I certainly hope that the company does well going forward. That said, since late April of 2011, the company has trailed the S&P 500 by nearly 19% (according to my scorecard here). There will have to be a really significant turnaround before recent investors can take a profit.

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