Schlumberger Limited is the biggest oilfield services corporation in the world. It operates worldwide and employs just fewer than 115,000 people in 85 countries. The largest offices are located in The Hague, Paris, London, and Houston, Texas. As the largest corporation in the industry, it has been at the forefront of explorations and technology for a number of years. It was the first to create a computerized reservoir system called SARABAND in 1970 and has since continued to provide innovations that are useful to the industry.
Schlumberger Limited was first started in 1926 in France by two brothers. They started the first electrical resistivity well log in 1927. Originally, they sold electrical measurement mapping services and expanded to their first U.S. well in California in 1929. The Schlumberger Well Surveying Corporation was founded in Houston in 1935, and from there the business greatly expanded and grew.
As they began to acquire more businesses, they incorporated in 1956 and were listed on the New York Stock Exchange starting in 1962. Since then, the company has diversified quite a bit. Today it is also traded on the large exchanges in Paris, London, and Switzerland. It operates in a number of various areas including seismic acquisition, evaluations, well testing, directional drilling, well cementing, well operations, flow consulting, software management, groundwater extraction, and the capture and storage of carbon among others.
A number of safety programs are in place to try to improve workplace safety. It has a safe driving program, climate change initiative, malaria prevention, and educational programs regarding conflict minerals. It also commits to sharing the best practices through HSE technical papers and other methods. It has seen its share of accidents. The company provides a snapshot of accidents and injuries, HSE lagging indicators, which indicates that the number of accidents and injuries have decreased significantly since 2002.
Research and Engineering Centers
A leader in the industry, it assists with the main objectives in a search for oil and gas. It identifies and evaluates potential reservoirs, facilitates the safe and cost-effective removal of hydrocarbons without environmental harm, and assists in obtaining the maximum yield from each reservoir that is discovered. Its first research laboratory was established in 1948 and in 2007 it was moved to a new facility in Cambridge, Mass. It is one of six research centers located globally. The facilities include:
- Brazil Research & Geoengineering Center
- Gould Research Center
- Dhahran Carbonate
Research is often conducted in partnership with universities and customers across the world. In addition to these locations, the company also operates ten technology and innovation centers located in key areas of the world. These centers are at the leading-edge of technology, developing new and innovative methods to improve operations for oil companies worldwide. In 2016, it invested $1 billion towards technology.
Legal and Environmental Issues
Schlumberger was involved in some legal problems in the United States. In 2015, the company was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for violations due to illegally conducting business in Iran and Sudan. As a result, the company was fined $233 million, the largest corporate sanction fines recorded in U.S. history.
That same year, it announced a significant workforce layoff. It stated that the layoff of 21,000 employees, 15 percent of its total workers, was due to a slump in global oil and gas industry prices. Also, that same year, it acquired Cameron International, an oilfield equipment manufacturer, for a price of $14.8 billion. Since then, the industry has experienced an upturn, and diversified companies are expected to have the best potential outcomes.
Although Schlumberger does not produce oil on its own, it has gotten into some trouble with environmental issues. The company temporarily lost two radioactive canisters. One, located in Australia Outback was recovered. The other was lost for a period of four hours in the North Sea from the Enesco drilling rig, which resulted in a loss of about 300,000 pounds. In another incident, Schlumberger Technology was fined after an accident caused the spilling of hydrochloric acid in Pennsylvania. The incident reportedly did not result in contamination of groundwater. It also had a small role in the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.