Global oilfield services giant Schlumberger has celebrated a return to profit in a year which brought further UK North Sea work.
Announcing its full year results, the firm recorded pre-tax profits of £2 billion in 2018, compared to a deficit of £900 million the previous year.
Revenues soared to £25.4bn last year, from £23.5bn in 2017.
Schlumberger confirmed it had carried out work for BP in the Schiehallion field, west of Shetland. It provided reservoir mapping services which “improved the customer’s understanding of the formation, maximising reservoir contact and recovery”.
The firm also inked a three-year deal with Apache North Sea — with two optional one-year extensions — for the provision of drilling and completion fluids for platform and subsea drilling projects.
The Apache deal was agreed in October 2018 and operations began in December.
Schlumberger chief executive Paal Kibsgaard said: “The dramatic fall in oil prices in the fourth quarter was largely driven by the US shale production surprising to the upside as a result of the surge in activity earlier in the year, and as geopolitics negatively impacted the global demand- and supply-balance sentiments.
“The combination of these factors, together with a large sell-off in the equity markets due to concerns around global growth and increasing US interest rates, created a near perfect storm to close out 2018.
“Looking forward to 2019, we expect a more positive supply- and demand-balance sentiment to lead to a gradual recovery in the price of oil over the course of the year, as the OPEC and Russia cuts take full effect; the effect of lower activity in North America land in the second half of 2018 impacts production growth; the dispensations from the Iran export sanctions expire and are not renewed; and as the US and China continue to work toward a solution to their ongoing trade dispute.
“In the meantime, the recent oil price volatility has introduced more uncertainty around the E&P spending outlook for 2019, with customers generally taking a more conservative approach at the start of the year.
“This will once again push out in time the broad-based recovery in E&P spending that we expected only three months ago.”