Baker Hughes looks to GE’s edge in big data


Baker Hughes is aiming to harness the strength of General Electric in big data after the pair on Monday completed their deal to create the second-biggest oilfield services group by revenues after Schlumberger. Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive of GE Oil & Gas who has taken charge of the enlarged group, said digital technology had the potential to improve productivity by an average of 5 percentage points across the oil and gas industry. The revamped Baker Hughes aimed to help unlock those benefits by drawing on GE’s ability to capture and analyse growing volumes of data from oil and gas operations — with the aim of helping customers become more reliable and efficient. Mr Simonelli said new technology was crucial to helping improve the economics of oil and gas production at a time when crude prices are experiencing renewed weakness below $50 per barrel. “We’ve got to be fit for the times and that means helping customers adapt to an era of lower for longer [oil prices],” he told the Financial Times. “We anticipated sluggish prices when we agreed the deal and we see them remaining sluggish for some time.” Jonathan Garrett, research director at Wood Mackenzie, the energy consultancy, predicted that the Baker Hughes would “move the sector towards embracing big data in production optimisation” with “huge” potential for cost reduction. “Engineers at GE are top notch at installing sensors and data gathering equipment in order to allow software to make operations more efficient and predict when certain components need to be serviced or might encounter a problem,” Mr Garrett said. GE agreed last October to merge its oilfield services business with Baker Hughes five months after Halliburton’s attempted acquisition failed because of antitrust obstacles. As well as contributing its existing oil and gas business to the new entity, GE agreed to pay $7.4bn for its 62.5 per cent stake in the combined group, with the remaining 37.5 per cent floated on the New York Stock Exchange. The enlarged group, to be known as “Baker Hughes, a General Electric company”, will have combined revenues of about $23bn. Its capabilities span equipment and services in all parts of the oil and gas industry from upstream exploration and production to downstream refining and petrochemicals. Due Diligence Sign up to your daily M&A email briefing Keep up to date on the latest news and insight on deals every weekday morning The deal adds to a wave of consolidation in the oilfield services sector since the crude price crash of 2014 sent revenues diving. Other deals have included the $14.3bn acquisition of Cameron by Schlumberger and the merger of Technip and FMC Technologies. GE and Baker Hughes set a target for their merged group to deliver cost savings of $1.2bn a year by 2020 and annual revenue synergies of $400m by the same year. Baker Hughes will cease trading in its current form when the New York market closes on Monday and resume in its enlarged form on Wednesday. Existing Baker Hughes shareholders will receive a one-time cash dividend of $17.50 per share. The enlarged group will have dual headquarters in London and Houston. Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t copy articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.