1960s: From the Ocean Depths to the Moon | SLB

1960s: From the Ocean Depths to the Moon

Timeline: 1960–1969

Schlumberger history 1960 field

By now, Schlumberger developments were finding valuable uses well beyond hydrocarbons and minerals activities. The company's growing expertise in deepsea 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.

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 chief executive officer of Schlumberger Limited in 1965 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.

Year Event
1960 Forms Dowell Schlumberger (50% Schlumberger, 50% Dow Chemical), specializing in pumping services for the oil industry

Begins work on the sidewall neutron porosity (SNP) tool with high-pressure helium-3 detectors using epithermal neutrons to measure formation porosity

Creates prototype of TDT thermal decay time tool for measuring formation saturation through casing using neutron population decay

Founds Sociéte d'Instrumentation Schlumberger to coordinate expansion into electronics and measurement systems
1961 Introduces formation density tool

Acquires Solartron (UK) electrical instrumentation company

Completes first digitized dipmeter logs by computer, marking first successful computer processing of logs from tape
1962 Acquires Vector Cable operations and Daystrom measurement instruments

Schlumberger Limited listed on the New York Stock Exchange

Commercializes the compensated density log, followed by the pad-type neutron log acquired by the SNP tool
1964 Creates Neptune drilling company (50% Forex, 50% Languedocienne)
1965 Processes digitized log tape in a truck

Begins development of CNL compensated neutron logging tool, a two-detector neutron tool for through-casing porosity measurement

Jean Riboud appointed CEO of Schlumberger Limited
1966 Develops small minitron and constructed 1 11/16-in TDT tool for through-tubing production logging

Achieves first Schlumberger–Doll Research patent in sonic logging

First well log in Norway is performed
1967 On Henri Doll's retirement, renames the Ridgefield facility to the Schlumberger–Doll Research Center in his honor
1968 Introduces Model TTR (talking tape recorder) to replace nine-galvanometer R9 recorder
1969 Incorporates experimental lithology into Litho-Density photoelectric density logging tool for direct measurement of formation lithology