Schoeller Says Libya Oil Recovery May Match 5-Year Iraq Wait

Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG (SBO), the Austrian maker of directional drilling gear, said Libyan Production may take as long to reach pre-crisis levels as it did in Iraq.

“My fear is that Libya will take as long as Iraq,” because of political uncertainty in the country, Chief Executive Officer Gerald Grohmann said in a telephone interview, adding that restarting production “always takes longer than anticipated.”

Iraq’s daily oil output slumped to 140,000 barrels from 2.5 million barrels in the two months ending April 2003 as U.S.-led troops fought to topple Saddam Hussein. Iraqi output took five years to fully return to pre-invasion levels.

Grohmann said that demand for oilfield components remained strong thanks to orders in India and China. The company’s order backlog at the end of September increased to 167.4 million euros ($227 million) from 123.6 million euros a year ago.

Third-quarter net income rose 40 percent to 13.6 million euros as revenue increased 14 percent to 99.5 million euros.

While Schoeller isn’t expecting to be hit by the economic downturn, the company is “mean and lean” and prepared to face any scenarios, Grohmann said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zoe Schneeweiss in Vienna at zschneeweiss@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Tirone at jtirone@bloomberg.net

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