A Closer Look At Schlumberger’s Deal With Rockwell Automation

by Trefis Team
Schlumberger Limited
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Last month, Schlumberger  (NYSE:SLB) formed a joint venture with Rockwell Automation, an industrial automation company, to create an oilfield automation solutions provider called Sensia, as it looks to help oil and natural gas customers cut costs and improve efficiencies on the oilfield. The oilfield services behemoth will hold a 47% share in the company, which will be reported as a minority interest in its financial statements. Below, we take a look at what the venture could mean for Schlumberger.

You can view our interactive dashboard analysis on What’s Schlumberger’s fundamental value based on expected 2019 results? for more details on the key drivers of the company’s value. In addition, you can more of our data for Energy Companies here. 

How Sensia Is Looking To Add Value

While oil companies have been steadily improving drilling efficiencies and reducing the cycle time of their projects, oil field equipment often works as disparate assets that are not interconnected with their operations and remaining largely manual. The new company will specialize in sensors and measurement technology with intelligent automation and will marry Rockwell’s expertise in automation and analytics with Schlumberger’s oilfield services experience. With the new offerings, Sensia will enable operators to carry out some operations via automated schedules while also connecting the various pieces of equipment with software so that they can work together while gathering more data from sensors and field devices, to offer insights on how efficiencies can be improved.  This could enable operators to improve oil and gas production while cutting down on manual interventions.

North America Will Be The Biggest Market For These Services

The North American market will initially be the biggest target of the new JV, with about  41% of the initial revenue mix projected to come from the region. With unconventional resources accounting for a growing mix of the U.S. hydrocarbons production, break-even costs of production are higher, making players more sensitive to oil price volatility. Moreover, there has been a trend of pad drilling – which is drilling multiple wells from a single piece of land at relatively close proximity – in the North American market, and this trend could make Rockwell’s control technology more effective for operators in terms of monitoring and maintenance.

Schlumberger’s Rivals Are Also Focusing On Automation

The digital oilfield automation market is expected to grow at a double-digit growth rate, outpacing the broader oilfield services market and Schlumberger’s key rivals have also been focusing on the space. For instance, Halliburton has been doubling down on the market with its Landmark business that offers digital solutions in the oilfield. The company also recently introduced a new automation software for its pressure pumping operations, leveraging algorithms that automatically tune pumps to necessary levels, unlike the typical procedure of having workers ramp up the pumps manually. However, Schlumberger and Rockwell have indicated that they would be the only provider that offers end-to-end solutions in this space.


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