Precision Drilling results miss estimates on warm winter

Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:50am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

(Reuters) - Precision Drilling Corp's, Canada's No. 1 oil and gas driller, quarterly profit narrowly missed analysts estimates as an unusually warm winter led to lower rig utilization in the country.

The warm weather in Canada delayed winter season drilling and the annual spring break-up arrived earlier, resulting in lower average utilization rates for the quarter, the company said.

Precision Drilling, which has three-fourths of its rigs operating in oil wells, echoed the larger trend and said it expects glut in the natural gas industry to continue until the gas rig count reaches its bottom over the coming months.

"The gas rig count is a big question right now ... it is true that the market will be kind of stalled there in terms of growth, till we see the natural gas rig count bottom," Desjardins Securities analyst Jamie Murray said.

Increased use of hydraulic fracturing has ensured that the oilfield services industry's profit soared in the last few years, but the efficient extraction method has also created a glut that has pushed natural gas prices to decade lows.

The low prices have also forced energy companies to move to liquids-rich regions in Canada and the United States.

Its larger North American peers, such as Halliburton Co and Schlumberger Ltd, have said the movement out of natural gas basins would hit the industry in the near term, even as they posted strong results.

Precision Drilling's first-quarter net income rose to C$111 million, or 39 Canadian cents per share, from C$65.6 million, or 23 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 22 percent to C$640.1 million.   Continued...