May 9, 2011 / 10:27 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Ensign Energy Q1 profit doubles on higher drilling activity

* Q1 EPS C$0.52 vs est C$0.39

* Q1 rev up 42 pct at C$502.2 mln

* Sees good demand for oilfields services in 2011 (Adds outlook details in paragraphs 2, 8, segment revenue details in paragraph 5 and background in paragraphs 3, 7)

May 9 (Reuters) - Ensign Energy Services Inc's first-quarter profit doubled, beating market estimates, helped by higher crude oil and liquids-rich natural gas-focused drilling activity in North America.

"Favorable crude oil supply and demand fundamentals are expected to drive improved levels of demand for oilfield services through the remainder of 2011," Canada's No. 2 oilfield services company said in a statement.

Ensign, which provides drilling, production testing and well services to the oil and gas industry, posted January-March net income of C$79.7 million, or 52 Canadian cents a share, up from C$38.8 million, or 25 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding items, it earned 57 Canadian cents a share.

Revenue rose 42 percent to C$502.2 million. Canadian oilfield services revenue rose 54 percent, while U.S. oilfield services revenue rose 43 percent.

Analysts on average expected earnings of 39 Canadian cents a share, on revenue of C$477.51 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In addition to high crude prices, Canadian drilling activity the quarter was boosted by an unusually long winter -- before the spring rains curtail rig numbers and activity. [ID:nL3E7FS4X9]

However, overall levels of North American activity continue to be negatively impacted by a lingering over-supply of natural gas, Ensign Energy said.

Shares of Calgary-based Ensign closed at C$17.03 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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