Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield services provider, said its first-quarter profit rose to to $944 million, or 69 cents a share, from $672 million, or 56 cents, a year earlier. Excluding merger costs, the company earned 71 cents a share, missing the consensus estimate of 75 cents.
Schlumberger (SLB), which has headquarters in both Houston and Paris, cited civil unrest in Libya as one reason for missing Wall Street estimates. The company halted operations in the North African country on Feb. 22 amid escalating violence. Libya was Africa's third-largest oil producer prior to the start of violence there.
Total revenue in the first quarter jumped to $8.72 billion from $5.6 billion. The absence of oil production from Libya, combined with continued recovery in demand, has reduced the world's spare capacity significantly. The call on both fuel oil and natural gas will increase as Japan recovers, Schlumberger said in a statement.
Schlumberger also said higher oil prices will support increased activity in North American shale formations and that the upturn in deepwater activity more generally is becoming increasingly visible, and the rate of permitting in the US Gulf of Mexico is accelerating. Activity is also increasing in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the company said in the statement.