UPDATE 3-Schlumberger Q4 lifted by int'l, deepwater growth
* Fourth-quarter EPS $1.08, ex-items, vs est $1.07
* Revenue rose 8 percent to $11.17 billion
Jan 18 (Reuters) - Schlumberger Ltd reported fourth-quarter earnings just ahead of recently reduced expectations on Friday on strong demand for oil and gas drilling services beyond the shores of North America.
Schlumberger, the oilfield industry leader, posted its fifth straight estimate-beating quarterly profit as growth in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia made up for a slowdown on North American land.
International markets accounted for about two-thirds of total revenue of $42.15 billion last year, which has helped the company build on its lead over Halliburton Co.
"In a challenging quarter for oil service companies, once again Schlumberger is clearly differentiating itself," said analyst James Crandell of Dahlman Rose & Co.
Overseas business will help this year, with Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard forecasting client spending outside North America up 10 percent, while staying flat on the U.S. continent.
"Global oil demand is expected to grow at similar levels to 2012," Kibsgaard said in a statement. "Absent any unexpected macroeconomic or geopolitical events, global spare capacity is expected to remain largely unchanged."
Schlumberger reduced its 2013 capital budget to $3.9 billion from $4.7 billion last year. Analysts at Simmons & Co sees spending directed at North American land likely to be "eviscerated."
Fourth-quarter net income fell to $1.37 billion, or $1.02 per share, from $1.41 billion, or $1.05 per share, a year before. Excluding items, earnings were $1.08 per share versus the analysts' view of $1.07, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue increased 8 percent to $11.17 billion, comfortably beating estimates of $10.82 billion.
Just over a month ago, Schlumberger warned the North American slowdown and contract delays in Europe and Africa would knock fourth-quarter earnings down by 5 cents to 7 cents per share.
Latin America revenue rose 13 percent, while the Middle East and Asia jumped a combined 21 percent, compared with a 3 percent drop in North America.
UBS analyst Angie Sedita noted strength in Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling more than offset onshore U.S. weakness. Offshore revenue was up 24 percent from the previous quarter.
Schlumberger raised its dividend by 13.6 percent on Thursday.
The company's shares rose nearly 1 percent to $74 in premarket trading. The stock is up 6 percent this year, while the Thomson Reuters United States Oil Related Services and Equipment Index has been largely flat.