April 24, 2017 8:31 am

Precision Drilling reports higher rig demand but lower pricing in Q1

Trainees Dan Brook and Bradley Williams are directed by instructor Clint Dyck while training to lay down drill pipe on a rig floor, at Precision Drilling in Nisku, Alta., on Friday, January 20, 2017.

Jason Franson, The Canadian Press
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CALGARY – One of Canada’s largest oil and gas drilling companies is seeing renewed demand for its services but at lower prices.

Calgary-based Precision Drilling says it activated 17 rigs in its U.S. fleet, bringing the total to 56.

Precision Drilling also had 91 active rigs in Canada at the end of the quarter, up from 50 at the beginning of the year.

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READ MORE: Oil cuts spur optimism in Canadian oilpatch after 2-year slump

Revenue for the three months ended March 31 was up 14.6 per cent from last year, but Precision Drilling’s net loss also increased due to higher operating expenses and lower pricing for all its North American businesses.

Net loss was $22.6 million or eight cents per share, compared with $19.9 million or seven cents per share a year earlier. Operating loss was $12.9 million, compared with a year-earlier operating profit of $4 million.

READ MORE: Precision Drilling cuts capital expenditures for 2017

Precision Drilling had $345.8 million of revenue, up 14.6 per cent from the first quarter of 2016. Cash provided by operations fell, however, to $33.8 million from $112.2 million.

READ MORE: Oil sector will still lose money in 2017: Conference Board of Canada report

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