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Schlumberger profit rises on strong drilling worldwide

(Reuters) - Schlumberger Ltd , the world's largest oilfield services company, reported a better-than-expected 20 percent rise in quarterly profit as offshore drilling increased in North America and demand from the Middle East and Asia rose.

The company, which topped analysts' profit estimates for the eighth consecutive quarter, said a seasonal rebound in Canadian drilling also contributed to a record quarterly revenue.

"Performance in North America was particularly strong," Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said.

Though he said prices for onshore services in North America remained weak in the third quarter, Schlumberger has been shielded from subdued demand thanks to its exposure to an offshore drilling boom in the United States, Canada and beyond.

Schlumberger generates nearly 70 percent of its revenue from operations outside North America. The company said international drilling activity in the quarter was led by the Middle East and Asia, including its key markets of Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Baker Hughes Inc , the world's third-largest oilfield services company, also reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by strong drilling activity in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Schlumberger's net income rose to $1.71 billion, or $1.29 per share, in the third quarter, from $1.42 billion, or $1.07 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose nearly 11 percent to $11.61 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.24 per share on revenue of $11.58 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Schlumberger's shares closed at $91.43 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares of Schlumberger and rival Halliburton Co have both risen about 17 percent in the past three months, while Baker Hughes' shares have gained 6 percent.

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Robin Paxton)

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