Denver-based Liberty Oilfield Services Inc. is expecting to see “very little” completions activity through the rest of the year across North America as Covid-19 continues to consume energy demand.

The completions services specialist undertook swift retaliatory actions early in March and again in early April in response to the gnawing pandemic. While confident it can continue to be free cash flow positive through the year, CEO Chris Wright warned Wednesday of painful conditions overall across the oil and gas sector.

The year began well, Wright noted, with the number of fracture (frack) stages and sand volumes pumped exceeding previous quarterly records. All of the 24 frack fleets were active until mid-March, when everything came to a standstill.

Holding back the rippling impacts of the devastating pandemic has been nearly impossible.

“Regrettably, for the first time in the company’s history we undertook a reduction of our personnel and staffed fleet count by approximately 50%,” Wright said. Variable compensation plans and the company’s 401(k) match were suspended. Capital spending was slashed, not once but twice, while base salaries were reduced, and the quarterly dividend was suspended.

A company-wide furlough plan now is in place to flex the cost structure and align with an “uncertain level” of frack demand in the coming months. Since the start of April, close to 330 people have lost their jobs.

“The toll on separated and present Liberty employees has been significant,” Wright said.

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On a positive note, “our balance sheet and Liberty culture will allow us the necessary flexibility to navigate this industry disruption,” Wright said. “We are working closely with customers to bring innovative engineering to their completion strategies to maximize their return for each precious investment dollar.”

The duration and depth of the oil demand contraction “remains uncertain,” but Liberty is “well positioned to react quickly to a rebound in oil demand, commodity prices and producer appetite for frack services.”

Net income was $2 million (2 cents/share) in 1Q2020, versus a year-ago net loss of $18 million (minus 15 cents). Revenues grew 19% sequentially to $472 million but were down from a year ago, when they totaled $535 million. Available liquidity at the end of the quarter was $259 million.