Patterson-UTI Reports Profit As Oklahoma Rig Explosion Investigation Continues
February 8, 2018
Houston driller and fracker Patterson-UTI Energy reported quarterly profits Thursday, while expressing concerns for the loss of five lives from a January explosion at one of its rigs in Oklahoma.
Patterson-UTI posted a $195 million quarterly profit versus a $78 million loss during the final three months of 2016. That new profit is buoyed almost entirely by more than $200 million in benefits from the revaluation of deferred taxes from the new U.S. tax law.
The company's quarterly revenues of $787 million more than tripled from $247 million a year prior. Patterson-UTI is now bringing in more revenues from pressure pumping, which includes the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of wells, than from its historic strengths in drilling. The company is continuing to add new fracking crews to keep up with demand.
But much of the focus remains on the investigation into the January explosion. Three of those killed were Patterson-UTI employees, while the other two worked for small Oklahoma contractors.
"Before reviewing the financial results, I want to express again that all of us at Patterson-UTI are mourning those who lost their lives in the tragic accident in Oklahoma," said Patterson-UTI CEO Andy Hendricks. "There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our employees and others we partner with in the field."
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is investigating the accident, as well as other federal and Oklahoma authorities. The incident is the nation's deadliest oil and gas explosion since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy int he Gulf of Mexico.
Red Mountain, a small Oklahoma energy producer, owned and operated the well, while Patterson-UTI was the lead contractor and owner of the drilling rig.
The Chemical Safety Board said Patterson-UTI and Red Mountain had just successfully drilled another well nearby without incident. The well where the accident occurred was drilled for 12 days prior to the explosion.
At the time of the incident, the rig crew had pulled the drill piping and tools out of the well in order to change out the drill bit.