Schlumberger Shares Rise on Lower 2019 Capex, International Outlook

JOHN BENNY | January 18, 2019

Schlumberger Shares Rise on Lower 2019 Capex, International Outlook
Oilfield services provider Schlumberger NV said on Friday it would spend less in 2019 and forecast single-digit growth in international markets this year, sending its shares as much as 5 percent higher.With the sharp drop in oil prices since 2014 many producers have evaluated spending budgets for 2019, stoking concerns that a slowdown in activity would hurt oilfield service companies, which have struggled to boost their prices.Schlumberger, a bellwether for the oilfield services sector, expects full-year 2019 capital expenditure of between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion, versus $2.2 billion in 2018, driven by lower spending in North America, Chief Executive Officer Paal Kibsgaard said on an earnings call.Shares of Schlumberger rose more than 5 percent to $43.60 in early trading."The downward guidance for 2019 capital expenditures helped solidify the dividend is safe," said Brian Youngberg, a senior energy analyst for Edward Jones.Schlumberger said recent volatility in crude prices has led to even more uncertainty in the spending outlook for oil and gas producers. Crude prices have tumbled roughly 30 percent since October."Future investments will likely be much closer to a level that can be covered by free cash flow," Kibsgaard said about its U.S. operator customers.But he said that even as operators tighten their purse strings, the company had built "significant flexibility" into its 2019 operating plan. He also said supply cuts by OPEC and Russia could lead to a gradual recovery in oil prices in 2019.And after several years of underinvestment, the company anticipates growth in international markets, driven by higher activity in regions including Latin America, Africa and Asia.Revenue from Schlumberger's North America business rose 0.3 percent year over year to $2.82 billion, while international revenue rose nearly 1 percent to $5.28 billion.

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