SLB Ltd., the world’s leading oilfield services operator, is forecasting “softness” to continue across North America’s oil and gas basins, but offshore activity is ticking higher. 

CEO Olivier Le Peuch held a conference call on Friday to discuss first quarter performance. Because the business reaches into every onshore and offshore area of the globe, SLB is able to overcome slow activity in one corner while netting contracts and building its backlog elsewhere, he told analysts.

Margin expansion continues to be driven in part by a tight market for equipment. Exploration and production (E&P) customers also are clamoring for new technologies to further operational efficiencies.

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