Schlumberger to cut more than 21,000 jobs

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The world’s largest oil-field services company, Schlumberger Ltd., is moving to cut more than 21,000 jobs as it posted its weakest sales in 14 years amid a slash in spending by oil producers in response to a historic drop in prices triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has probably been the most challenging quarter in past decades,” CEO Olivier Le Peuch pointed out. He said Schlumberger second-quarter revenue declined 28% sequentially, caused by the unprecedented fall in North America activity, and international activity drop due to downward revisions to customer budgets accentuated by COVID-19 disruptions. “This speaks volumes about an industry confronted with historic oil demand and supply imbalances caused by demand destruction from the global COVID-19 containment effort.”

North America revenue declined 48% sequentially with land revenue falling 60% as customers dramatically cut back spending. International revenue declined 19% sequentially with Latin America and Africa experiencing the largest revenue declines due to COVID-19-related restrictions and the drop in deepwater activity.

In addition, Le Peuch said there was a production interruption at the company’s Asset Performance Solutions (APS) projects in Ecuador caused by a major land slide that led to the rupture of the main pipeline. “Consolidated revenue in the Latin America area of $543 million decreased 42% sequentially, primarily due to a production interruption in our APS projects in Ecuador. In addition, COVID-19 disruptions affected drilling activities in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru.”

He said in contrast, Mexico and Brazil declined less severely as reduced land activity was partially offset by offshore exploration operations, where work continued with COVID-19 risk-mitigation protocols.

“Revenue in the Middle East, Russia, Europe, and Asia proved more resilient as these regions, when combined, declined 10% sequentially,” Le Peuch said.

By business segment sequentially, second-quarter revenue for Reservoir Characterization and Drilling fell 20% and 24%, respectively. He said this was due to the North America land activity decline and COVID-19 disruptions in several international GeoMarkets. Production revenue declined 40% sequentially, driven by the precipitous drop in OneStim® pressure-pumping activity. Cameron revenue declined 19% sequentially, mostly due to North America land activity decline in Surface Systems and Valves & Process Systems.

“In the face of such adversity, Schlumberger has demonstrated resilience. Through our decisive actions, we protected our liquidity and cash positions, and sustained resilient international margins while navigating the trough of this downcycle,” the CEO stated. “The results of our actions and continued success with technology—particularly digital—can be seen from our decremental margins and our strong free cash flow generation.”

Le Peuch said the company’s employees and contractors have shown outstanding adaptability to the new working environment with up to 55,000 of its people working remotely to maintain business continuity. He said they have embraced digital remote operations, adjusted work practices to mitigate contamination risks, and delivered benchmark safety and service quality performance for customers. “I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation for their dedication and sacrifices while working in a difficult operating environment, and for their leadership in helping the communities where we live and work. As the pandemic lingers, we will remain cautious in our global operations. The safety of our people remains paramount.”

With product sales and services in more than 120 countries and employing approximately 85,000 people as of the end of the second quarter of 2020 who represent over 170 nationalities, Schlumberger supplies the industry’s most comprehensive range of products and services.

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