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Schlumberger names new CEO, tops revenue on international demand

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By Reuters
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(Reuters) – Schlumberger NV <SLB.N> said on Friday Chief Operating Officer Olivier Le Peuch will replace longtime Chief Executive Officer Paal Kibsgaard, as the company looks to shore up its position as a leader in drilling technology.

The world’s largest oilfield services provider also reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue, as demand in international markets countered weakness in North America, sending its shares up more than 1% before the bell.

The change of guard comes when the oilfield services industry is buffeted by moderating demand as oil producers cut spending to mollify investors seeking higher returns and efficiency gains are enabling companies to extract more oil with fewer resources.

A veteran who has been with the company for more than three decades, Le Peuch was being groomed as a successor and was in February named the chief operating officer, a role Kibsgaard held before his elevation to the top role in August 2011.

Le Peuch, 55, was part of the teams that drove Schlumberger’s purchase of software maker Technoguide in 2002, according to former colleagues, and later acquisitions of two well-completions businesses, and pursued a joint venture with offshore firm Subsea 7.

He will start in his new role in August, when Kibsgaard, 52, will retire. Mark Papa, a current non-independent director, will become non-executive chairman, Schlumberger said.

Schlumberger, an industry bellwether, has benefited from an uptick in activity in international markets since 2018 after a prolonged four-year slump.

International revenue rose 8% to $5.46 billion (£4.36 billion) in the second quarter, while it fell 11% to $2.8 billion in North America.

“These results reflect the normalization in global E&P spend that we were anticipating as international investment increases in response to the accelerating decline in the mature production base, and North America land investment decreases due to E&P operator cash flow constraints,” Kibsgaard said in a statement.

Net income rose about 14% to $492 million in the second quarter ended June 30.

Excluding items, the company earned 35 cents per share, in line with analysts’ estimate, according to IBES estimates from Refinitiv.

The Houston-based company reported revenue of $8.27 billion, beating estimates of $8.11 billion.

(Reporting by Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)