1980s: A Global Research Drive | Schlumberger
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1980s: A Global Research Drive

Timeline: 1980–1989

The company’s first measurement-while-drilling (MWD) job was completed in 1980 in the Gulf of Mexico, combining elements of wireline logging with real-time data transmission. The early 1980s was also the period when nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) logging—under development since the 1960s—finally became practical, enabling more comprehensive understanding of reservoirs. The Crystal graphical log interpretation workstation, which ultimately became the basis for the GeoFrame reservoir characterization software, was also developed at this time. The first logging-while-drilling (LWD) tool was introduced in 1989, measuring formation properties before exposure to drilling fluids took its toll.

The company's commitment to developing a global research network led to the opening of its Cambridge Research Center in England in 1982, focusing on drilling technology, fluids, seismic techniques, production logging, and rock mechanics. An engineering center in Fuchinobe, Japan, was opened in 1985.

This global research drive was complemented by pioneering use of computer connectivity to bring Schlumberger’s widely spread operations together. In 1980, the company implemented its first international data links with e-mail. Two years later as one of the first commercial users of ARPANet, the precursor to the Internet, the company’s Palo Alto lab was implemented for multiple international links, and the first internal secure gateway between divisions was established.

In 1985, the company deployed the Schlumberger Information Network (SINet), the world's second-largest internal corporate network and the first commercial ARPANet-based intranet. Before the end of the decade, Schlumberger registered the Internet domain name slb.com.

Following the death of CEO Jean Riboud and the year-long tenure of his successor Michel Vaillaud, Euan Baird was appointed chairman and chief operating officer of Schlumberger Limited in 1986. Baird, a Scot, became the first non-French holder of these positions.

In the aftermath of the 1986 oil price collapse and the associated oil glut that adversely affected global exploration, Baird led the company’s successful refocusing of its business on its core oilfield services and measurements activities and placed a greater emphasis on R&D that would lead to the development of a host of new products.

A series of acquisitions led to further restructuring of Schlumberger subsidiaries.

  • The purchase of the SEDCO drilling rig company and 50% of Dowell of North America in 1984 led to the creation of Anadrill (a combination of Dowell's drilling segment and The Analysts) and the SEDCO Forex Drilling Company (a merger of SEDCO with Forex Neptune).
  • Meanwhile, the acquisition of 50% of GECO in 1985 signaled the start of a long-term commitment to the seismic measuring sector. Schlumberger bought the remaining 50% of GECO in 1988.
  • Other strategic moves during the decade included the merger of Flopetrol with the Wireline product line to create Schlumberger Wireline & Testing as well as the acquisitions of Neptune (North America), Bosco and Cori (Italy), and Allmess (Germany).
Year Event
1980
  • Completes first MWD job in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Begins researching extremely high values of low-frequency dielectric constant in rocks
1981
  • Acquires Applicon and Balteau
  • Implements first international data links with e-mail
1982 Develops Crystal graphical log interpretation workstation, which ultimately became the basis for GeoFrame software
1983
  • Implements first commercial use of ARPANet (Palo Alto lab) for multiple international links and the first internal secure gateway between divisions
  • Opens Cambridge Research Center in England
1984
  • Acquires SEDCO drilling rig company and 50% of Dowell of North America
  • Founds Anadrill by combining the drilling segment of Dowell and The Analysts
  • Begins nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) petrophysics research
  • Develops ultrasonic CET Cement Evaluation Tool for adding azimuthal information to cement bond analysis
1985
  • Acquires Merlin and 50% of GECO (seismic and geophysical services)
  • Forms SEDCO Forex Drilling Company
  • Introduces Formation MicroScanner tool
  • Deploys Schlumberger Information Network (SINet), the world's second-largest internal corporate network and the first commercial ARPANet-based intranet
  • Introduces first VSAT terminal
  • Field tests borehole linear accelerator (LINAC) as a density tool
  • Opens Schlumberger engineering center in Fuchinobe, Japan
1986
  • Merges Flopetrol with Wireline product line to create Schlumberger Wireline & Testing
  • Introduces Phasor phasor-induction SFL tool to improve detection of thin beds
  • Produces prototype of CMR Combinable Magnetic Resonance tool
  • Euan Baird appointed Chairman of the Board and CEO of Schlumberger Limited
1987
  • Acquires Neptune (North America), Bosco and Cori (Italy), and Allmess (Germany)
  • Registers slb.com as an Internet domain name
1988
  • Acquires remaining 50% of GECO
  • Introduces first LWD tool
1989
  • Introduces MAXIS 500 logging unit
  • The Technical Review widens its editorial mission and changes its name to Oilfield Review

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