Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. expects to record net income of $100 million-plus for 4Q2022, a sharp turnaround from year-ago losses as Lower 48 drilling expands.


The oilfield services company, which previewed earnings on Wednesday, had reported net losses for the fourth quarter of 2021.

“In contract drilling, average rig revenue per day benefited primarily from contract renewals with more favorable pricing than expected,” CEO Andy Hendricks said. “Pressure pumping benefited from strong pricing and utilization, including downtime around the holidays that was less severe than we had forecasted, despite the inclement weather.”

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During the 2Q2022 conference call in July, Hendricks had said activity already was at pre-pandemic levels, with customers locking in prices.

At the end of 2022, the company had 132 rigs running across the United States, with the majority in the Permian Basin (61), followed by the Appalachian Basin (22). That compares with the final three months of 2021, when the company was running on average 106 rigs.

The total U.S. rig count held steady at 779 for the week ended Friday (Dec. 30), according to the latest figures from Baker Hughes Co. The combined 779 active U.S. rigs as of Friday compares with 586 rigs running in the year-earlier period, according to the numbers, which are partly based on data from Enverus.

Meanwhile, Patterson-UTI said it returned $74.3 million to shareholders in the fourth quarter. It also repurchased $22.4 million of its long-term debt. 

In other news, James “Mike” Holcomb, who joined the company in 1988, has been named COO.

“With Patterson-UTI’s recent growth and market outlook, this new position will allow us to provide additional support to our business units, enhance the ability of our businesses to continue to support our customers and better position our company for future growth opportunities,” Hendricks said.

Mike Garvin also has been promoted to president of Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. LLC, a post that Holcomb had held.

“Mike Garvin has more than 40 years of combined onshore, offshore and geothermal drilling experience, most recently serving as senior vice president of Operations for Patterson-UTI Drilling,” Hendricks noted.