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1940s: New frontiers


Timeline: 1940-1949


World War II inevitably slowed the rapid spread of logging technology, but Schlumberger nonetheless continued to make significant advances during the 1940s

In 1940, the company moved its headquarters to Houston to take advantage of the USA’s position as a global technology leader, especially in electronics. However, Marcel Schlumberger remained based in France, where he and his team continued to invent and innovate.

Logging trucks were modernized, equipped with a winch and an electrical cable capable of operating a wide range of services in ever-deeper boreholes. New devices, designed to complement electrical logging tools, provided measurements of borehole parameters such as diameter, temperature and inclination.

Significant contributions were being made to technological knowledge. In 1942, Gus Archie of Shell Oil published a report on the relationship between electrical resistivity and porosity and water saturation in oil-bearing rocks. "Archie's Law" was to become the foundation of petrophysical-log interpretation.

As the decade progressed, logging applications began to expand beyond formation evaluation. In 1946, the casing collar locator was first deployed to measure changes in magnetic flux at the collar’s location. This breakthrough made it much easier to correlate openhole and cased hole logs taken from the same wellbore.

The following year, the first induction log was recorded in a Humble Oil well in Tyler, Texas, helping to distinguish oil- from water-bearing rock layers when the borehole contains fluid that does not conduct electricity.

The late 1940s was also the period when the first offshore oil rigs were being deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, opening up new possibilities for Schlumberger technology.

Meanwhile, the nature of the oilfield services sector was changing. Henri Doll said increasing competition between companies provided Schlumberger with an extra incentive to advance and grow—and, having rebuffed a takeover attempt by Halliburton, that is what the company did.

“Where the drill goes, Schlumberger goes” became a rallying cry. As the company expanded globally, it took on increasing numbers of local recruits, providing the cultural diversity that still defines Schlumberger’s character today.

Keeping ahead of competitors required substantial investment in cutting-edge research. In 1948, Doll was charged with establishing a new research center in Ridgefield, Connecticut - the Schlumberger-Doll Research Center. This provided the springboard for the technological breakthroughs that would define Schlumberger success in the second half of the 20th century. The Center, which still plays a significant role in the company’s R&D activities, is now located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

1940

  • Company headquarters moved to Houston

1941

  • Introduces SP Dipmeter tool for finding angle of formation dip in borehole 1942

1942

  • Gus Archie of Shell Oil publishes research underpinning “Archie’s Law,” key to log interpretation

1946

  • Deploys first casing collar locator to measure changes in magnetic flux at the collar’s location

1946/47

  • First offshore rigs deployed in the Gulf of Mexico

1947

  • Records first induction log to help distinguish oil- from water-bearing rock layers when the borehole contains fluid that does not conduct electricity
  • Begins producing nine-galvanometer R9 recorder for simultaneously displaying multiple logging curves
  • Henri Doll receives the US War department's certificate of appreciation for his contribution to mine detection technology

1948

  • Establishes Schlumberger research center in Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA

1949

  • Introduces Microlog tool for measuring mudcake thickness and resistivity near the borehole

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