Business Strategy and Outlook| Preston Caldwell |
Among oilfield-services companies, Schlumberger has long stood in a class of its own. Underpinned by its moat and strong management, the company has earned solid economic profits for decades. It reached the front of the pack in wireline evaluation in the 1920s, and it hasn’t relinquished its position since. Since then, Schlumberger has used its unrivaled expertise in understanding oil and gas reservoirs to not only drive a continuous stream of profits in its legacy business lines (embedded in the reservoir characterization segment), but also develop other oilfield-services business lines with nearly unwavering success. As one of many examples, the company pioneered directional drilling in the mid-1980s, a technology that today is recognized as an indispensable ingredient in the shale revolution.