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A pumpjack operates on an oil well in the Permian Basin near Orla, Texas, U.S., on Friday, March 2, 2018. Chevron, the world's third-largest publicly traded oil producer, is spending $3.3 billion this year in the Permian and an additional $1 billion in other shale basins. Its expansion will further bolster U.S. oil output, which already exceeds 10 million barrels a day, surpassing the record set in 1970. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

(bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- The Swiss oilfield services company Weatherford International Plc is considering a sale of its laboratory business, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Weatherford, which provides equipment, technology and a variety of services for the drilling and production of oil and gas, has reached out to potential private equity and corporate buyers for the business, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

A representative for Weatherford, which is based in Switzerland with much of its operations in Houston, declined to comment.

The decision to sell the lab unit coincides with Chief Executive Officer Mark A. McCollum’s plan to decrease debt and sell non-core businesses. Weatherford is in the process of selling its onshore rig business, with two potential buyers interested.

The company said in its first-quarter earnings call in April that it had started two divestiture projects, according to a transcript. The planned transactions, separate from its drilling rigs divestiture process, were expected to generate about $500 million by the end of the year, it said.

Weatherford’s laboratories business, which was boosted by its 2006 acquisition of OMNI Laboratories, evaluates reservoir rock and fluids for clients. Its services include routine and special core analysis and geochemical analysis of rock and fluid samples, according to the company’s website.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kiel Porter in New York at kporter17@bloomberg.net;David Wethe in Houston at dwethe@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Fournier at efournier5@bloomberg.net, ;Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net, Michael Hytha, Matthew Monks

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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