By now, Schlumberger developments were finding valuable uses well beyond its core hydrocarbons and minerals activities. The company’s growing expertise in deep-sea drilling helped illuminate the ocean floor for scientific explorers. Its equipment was also useful in the search for sunken vessels—notably the submarine USS Thresher, which was lost off Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1963. Schlumberger provided an electrode able to detect spontaneous potential—the electricity generated by metal immersed in water—which indicated the location of the vessel on the seabed.
Schlumberger technology was also used in another realm entirely. The spacecraft that evolved throughout the “space race” decade of the 1960s, which culminated in the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, needed precisely the sort of remote sensing and accurate measuring equipment that Schlumberger was pioneering. The company provided high-reliability calculating machines to NASA in the early 1960s and still provides sensors for space exploration today.
Meanwhile, progress in the company’s core businesses continued apace. Throughout the 1960s, Schlumberger engineers developed density logs to improve understanding of lithology and porosity, saturation measurements through casing, computer-processed dipmeter logs, digital tape processing in a logging truck, and sonic logging. Schlumberger engineering center in Clamart, France was founded in 1965.
The company also grew steadily through acquisitions and partnerships. In 1960, it formed Dowell Schlumberger, a 50/50 joint venture with Dow Chemical, which specialized in pumping services for the oil industry. In 1961, Solartron, a UK electrical instrumentation company was acquired, and in the same year, Société d'Instrumentation Schlumberger was founded to coordinate expansion into electronics and measurement systems. In 1962, the company acquired the cable operations of Vector Cable and Daystrom measurement instruments. In 1964, Schlumberger created the Neptune drilling company by merging parts of its Languedocienne operation with Forex, of which it owned 50% at the time.
The growing company also required improved access to funding, prompting the listing of Schlumberger Limited on the New York Stock Exchange in 1962.
Significant personnel changes included the appointment of Jean Riboud as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Schlumberger Limited in 1966, and the retirement of Henri Doll in 1967, after an illustrious career. The Ridgefield research facility was renamed the Schlumberger-Doll Research Center in his honor.
Doll’s research and expertise had helped ensure the company was well prepared to face a range of new challenges emerging by the end of the 1960s, as the wells to be logged got deeper than 20,000 feet and exploration moved into tricky environments, such as Alaska.
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