If you were an oil company CEO with major development plans, would you feel comfortable contracting work to Halliburton (NYSE:HAL)? With all the bad press facing the energy and oilfield services giant, probably not. Criminal investigations over government contract shenanigans in Iraq and the prospect of liquidity problems at Halliburton could easily translate into profits for its biggest rival: Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB).

Oil executives like to deal with big, tech-savvy service companies that can quickly move to where the work needs to get done. At the same time, they're cagey about the suppliers they work with. They are sensitive to public opinion. Like all companies, oil producers prefer not to consider suppliers that might face a cash flow crunch.

So, Schlumberger is positioned nicely to nab large, juicy upstream service contracts. After Halliburton, Schlumberger is the No. 2 firm, with service offices around the world. Oil companies turn to Schlumberger for its cutting edge drilling, pumping, and data management technologies. Further, the company's balance sheet is healthy.

The pickings are rich for Schlumberger. With crude oil prices pushing the $40 per barrel mark, oil companies will be cranking up drilling and production in the near term. At the same time, it's getting tougher to find new oil and gas reserves, so producers need to spend a lot more on exploration. That means Schlumberger, as well as Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), will fare well even if crude prices dip.

Granted, Schlumberger trades at an above-market earnings multiple and the stock has moved up steadily in the past year. But with 20% earnings increases expected over the next five years, and now the short-term opportunity to get work that might otherwise go to Halliburton, Schlumberger's share price has room to stretch.

What's your opinion about Iraq and Halliburton? Should Schlumberger benefit from Halliburton's poor PR? Talk about it with other Fools on the Current Events discussion board.

Motley Fool contributor Ben McClure hails from the Great White North. He doesn't own any shares of companies mentioned here.