UPDATE 1-Schlumberger Q4 profit beats, makes Venezuela write-down

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Jan 19 (Reuters) - Schlumberger reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday as the oilfield services provider benefited from higher oil prices, while also taking $2.7 billion in charges for restructuring and investment in Venezuela.

A rise in drilling by shale producers helped the company's revenue in North America rose 59 percent to $2.81 billion for the fourth quarter, pushing total revenue up 15 percent to $8.18 billion.

Excluding items, Schlumberger 48 cents a share, beating average analyst estimates of 44 cents per share, as per Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, its net GAAP loss widened to $2.26 billion, or $1.63 per share from $204 million, or 15 cents per share, as the company took charges including almost a $938 million writedown on the value of its Venezuelan investment.

The recovery of oil prices to around $70 a barrel has given hope to Schlumberger and other companies in the oil-field-services sector which had to lay off thousands of employees during a two-year decline in energy prices earlier this decade

West Texas Intermediate surged about 25 percent in the past three months, while Brent crude climbed nearly 24 percent, spurring U.S. shale producers to put more rigs to work. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Patrick Graham)