(Adds Q1 details, I/B/E/S estimates)
April 24 (Reuters) - Canadian rig contractor Precision Drilling Corp reported a smaller-than-expected rise in revenue as the rates customers paid to hire rigs fell despite increased demand.
North American oil producers have started putting rigs back to work, encouraged by a 70 percent jump in U.S. crude oil prices since they hit near-record lows in February 2016.
Precision Drilling’s rig count in the United States rose to 47 from 32 in the first quarter ended March 31. The company has 76 active rigs in Canada.
However, revenue from rig utilization per day fell 22.4 percent to C$18,524 in Canada, while in the United States it dropped 37.3 percent to $19,972.
The company’s net loss widened to C$22.6 million ($16.9 million), or 8 Canadian cents per share, from C$19.9 million, or 7 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company lost 8 Canadian cents per share. Analysts on average had expected Precision to lose 10 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 14.6 percent to C$345.8 million, but missed estimates of C$351.87 million. ($1 = C$1.34) (Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Maju Samuel)