Our History | SLB

Our History

A legacy and culture of pushing the limits of what technology can do.

Paris office image
Paris office image

Generations of change-makers

Throughout the last century, we’ve constantly adapted to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers and partners. It’s a heritage with innovation at its heart. With bold thinking, we’ve established ourselves as early adopters of digital solutions and pioneers of new mindsets to tackle the net-zero challenge.

1870–1920s: Every great legacy starts with a bold vision.
Born in France in 1878, Conrad Schlumberger conceived the revolutionary idea of mapping subsurface rock bodies with electrical measurements. His technique would serve as the spark for a new, disruptive name in energy. Conrad and his brother Marcel began working together in 1919 to change the face of subsurface exploration.
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1920s: Pioneering the first of many firsts
Throughout the 1920s, the Schlumberger brothers conducted geophysical surveys across the globe. Later, the family created the first electrical resistivity well log—a turning point in the history of oil exploration. By 1929, electrical coring was being conducted around the world, a testament to scaling innovation in the company’s big beginnings.
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1930s: A global innovator takes shape.
By the mid-1930s, electrical coring had taken the industry by storm—and with it, SLB began to resemble the global force it is today. The company expanded to the biggest oil-producing countries, including a key market in the US, and grew its number of teams almost 20 times before the end of the decade. Though Conrad died in 1936, he lived to see his family name become a leader on the frontier of energy innovation.
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1940s: A changing company with growing opportunity.
While the war slowed progress, industry innovations and modernization, like the first offshore oil rigs, would help propel SLB forward. In 1948, Henri Doll established the Schlumberger-Doll Research Center, the springboard for breakthroughs and bold thinking for the company through the second half of the century—and a hub of innovation still today. And as the company continued to grow globally, teams grew with more local recruits, creating the cultural diversity that still defines SLB today.
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1950s: A changing company with growing opportunity.
As electronics changed the industry, SLB pushed its own innovation, exploring new technologies like microlaterolog and microneutron tools and its industry-standard induction array, introduced in 1959. And with several strategic acquisitions and company restructuring, SLB began to build a greater spectrum of capabilities for the future.
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1960s: SLB grows, from the ocean to the moon.
SLB tech began to be used in new ways, from uncovering sunken vessels with electrodes to providing calculations to NASA during the space race. Meanwhile, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1962. SLB continued its rapid development with new acquisitions, partnerships, and ventures that have come to define its collaborative changemaking.
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1970s: Innovating to lead.
The boom of engineering and computer power in the 1970s helped SLB reach new heights as the market leader, powered by its unparalleled range of tools. As an early tech adopter, SLB joined ARPAnet in 1975, a research network that would become the Internet. SLB also introduced the first-generation sonic digital tool for uphole processing. And with the opening of the Schlumberger Museum in Normandy, SLB affirmed itself as a company with a legacy worth celebrating.
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1980s: Connecting minds across the world.
Striving to build a global research network, SLB opened the Cambridge Research Center in England and an engineering center in Japan to drive innovation and explore new approaches and tech. This expansion was fueled by the company’s pioneering digital connectivity. SLB implemented its first international data links with email and established the Schlumberger Information Network, the first-ever commercial ARPANet-based intranet.
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1990s: Creating powerful new products.
In the 90s, SLB launched several products that revolutionized drilling and logging operations, improving precision and cost-effectiveness like never before. At the same time, SLB continued to make strategic acquisitions and partnerships with other companies and the scientific community to unlock new possibilities. By 1991, the modern SLB company had come to life.
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2000s: Recommitted to the foundations of SLB.
In the first decade of the 21st century, SLB strengthened its core offerings. It helped take industry understanding of reservoirs to a new level with the launch and integration of new tech, including 4D reservoir monitoring. SLB also pioneered the PowerDrive rotary steerable system with integrated measurements. This technology enabled horizontal well drilling at industrial scale, unlocking new possibilities in energy access.
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2010s: Adapting to a new energy landscape.
The industry continued to shift through the 2010s, and SLB shifted with it, innovating new products and technologies in imaging as well as for shale and gas plays. At the same time, SLB remained steadfast in its commitment to R&D by building new research centers, tapping into new talent to build more tailored solutions for new challenges.
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Today: Every great legacy has an eye on tomorrow.
As the world searches for new and better ways to access energy, SLB products and services are more essential than ever. New, connected tech has improved efficiency and information sharing for more effective drilling in oil and gas, while new offerings for the growing New Energy sector keep SLB on the cutting-edge. Our history of innovation is a guiding light in energy—and our future together is even brighter.
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For a balanced planet

Striking a new energy equilibrium 

The future of energy is about balancing accessibility and security while decarbonizing the industry to reach net zero. That’s the future we’re working toward every day.


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Driving Energy Innovation

We’re transforming the energy industry. Again.

We’ve revolutionized what energy can do throughout our history. Now, we’re ready for the next challenge. And what got us here—science, technology, and engineering—will be key to taking us where we need to go.


Visit our museum
Enjoy an amazing immersive experience that depicts a century of energy innovation at our museum in Normandy, France.
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