While some energy companies are worried about dwindling reserves, Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB) stands to gain enormously as oil and gas become harder to find.
This company provides high-tech equipment and services to oil and gas companies, and its products are especially useful for the kind of unconventional drilling needed to find new sources. SLB is one of the top two companies in the world for just about every type of product and service it offers, and it invests heavily in R&D to maintain its competitive edge.
Not surprisingly, results have been very impressive over the past couple of years. Growth in revenues and profits has been steady and impressive, and there's no reason to think this growth won't continue for the next few years. SLB's global focus gives it good protection against a downturn in any one region. Russia holds particular promise: The company has been working there for 50 years and now stands to benefit greatly from that country's rapidly growing oil business.
There are some risks -- oil is a cyclical business, and a company like SLB has high capital and R&D costs. The stock price has risen quickly and some analysts feel it is way overvalued. The longterm may be difficult as the world's economies try to conserve or adapt new forms of energy. But for the foreseeable future, oil and gas are only going to be in higher demand as China, India and other developing countries continue to grow and as the United States continues to rely on hydrocarbons.
Type of stock: A large-cap oil and gas services company, one of the leaders in all it does.
Price target: I believe that SLB (now at $60) will hit $80 in early 2007---as long as the price of oil continues its ascent.
SLB 1-yr chart