OSLO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The decision by Schlumberger , the world's largest oil services firm, to exit the offshore seismic segment was a "massive signal" to oil firms about future challenges, the CEO of seismic surveyor Shearwater Geoservices said on Wednesday:
* "The exit of Schlumberger, which has been one of the biggest drivers of new (seismic) technology developments, makes oil companies concerned, and they rightly should be," Irene Waage Basili said on the sidelines of an oil conference * Seismic surveyors map out the seabed for oil and gas deposit on behalf of oil companies. They are essential to any offshore exploration plans
* Schlumberger announced in January plans to exit the offshore and onshore seismic acquisition market due to weak returns.
* "This could create a problem for oil companies in the future... They will have to do it (develop new technology) themselves or ensure that geophysical service companies can make sufficient margins to defend long-term investments," she said
* Earlier on Wednesday, the CEO told the conference she expected day rates for hiring seismic vessels to increase by around 10 percent in 2018 and around the same in 2019
* "It's my best guess, but vessel utilisation is more important than day rates. If we get higher utilisation, day rates could be lower," she told Reuters (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Gwladys Fouche)