In an era of increasing importance for the energy industry, each earnings season Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) -- in addition to disclosing its own results for the prior quarter -- unfailingly provides key information on major international trends within the oil patch. All companies perform the former function, but I know of none that accomplishes the latter top-down service as effectively as Schlumberger and Andrew Gould, its chairman and CEO.

For the past quarter, Schlumberger chalked up net income of $1.26 billion, fully 46.9% higher than the $856.9 million in the June 2006 period. Diluted per-share earnings were $1.02, compared to $0.69 a year earlier. Of its two business units, the larger oilfield services segment increased its revenues by 21%, while WesternGeco, the seismic unit, experienced a top-line expansion of 18% year over year.

Clearly, the company's strong results in the quarter were driven by heightened international activity. In fact, revenue growth for Oilfield Services accelerated everywhere except North America, where somewhat higher activity in the U.S. did not compensate for a major decline in Canada.

And while Schlumberger was the first of the energy services companies to report this quarter, softness in the Canadian activity has clearly cost another big oilfield services company, Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), which last week warned that a pullback north of the border would contribute to the company's falling about a dime short of expectations for the June period. Baker Hughes will report its complete results on Friday, and will be preceded during the week by reports from Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and Weatherford (NYSE:WFT), among other oilfield services companies.

Other energy trends discussed by Gould included uncertainty about the future of North American natural gas activity, an ongoing robust global demand for oil, and disappointing levels of non-OPEC supply as a result of an "acceleration in the decline rate of the existing production base." He also pointed to delays in the new and complex projects under development, along with inadequate industry investment as a result of the negative effects of shortages of people and equipment.

So it seems that two salient items remain clear from Schlumberger's release on Friday: First, the world's quest for adequate supplies of oil and gas will remain dynamic, complex, and largely unpredictable in the years ahead. Second, Schlumberger continues to be a tremendously solid and successful company.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith does own shares in Baker Hughes and Halliburton, but not in the other companies mentioned. He welcomes your questions or comments. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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