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Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil services company, reported higher fourth-quarter profits as oil and gas drilling activity picked up on higher oil prices.

Net income increased in the quarter to $601 million, up 60% from a year earlier and 9% from the third quarter. Diluted earnings per share were 42 cents per share. Revenue of $6.2 billion was up 13% from a year earlier. All beat the market consensus.

Cash flow from operations more than doubled in the fourth quarter to $1.93 billion, with free cash flow — a closely watched oil industry metric — hitting $1.3 billion from $550. million the previous year, the company said.

While all segments of the business generated more revenue in the fourth quarter, pretax revenue from Schlumberger’s reservoir performance and well construction units, both directly related to the oilfield drilling business, each increased by more than 100%.

Olivier Le Peuch, chief executive of Schlumberger, highlighted a strong 2022 for the industry and forecast global oil demand to exceed pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year and continue to rise. in 2023.

“Macro fundamentals for the industry are very supportive, due to the combination of an expected steady recovery in demand, an increasingly tight supply market and favorable oil prices. We believe this will result in a significant increase in industry capital expenditure with simultaneous double-digit growth in international and North American markets,” said Le Peuch.

Schlumberger said it is increasing capital spending in 2022 to between $1.9 billion and $2 billion, from $1.7 billion in 2021.

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