* Impairment charge of C$192 mln in 4th quarter
* Expects 2013 capex of C$526 mln, down from C$868 mln last
Feb 14 Precision Drilling Corp, Canada's
largest oil and gas drilling contractor, posted a fourth-quarter
loss, its first in nine quarters, as it recorded charges related
to decommissioning of some of its less-efficient rigs.
The net loss was C$116 million ($115.7 million), or 42
Canadian cents per share, compared with a profit of C$28
million, or 10 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 9 percent to C$534 million.
Precision, which operates about a quarter of Canada's
onshore drilling rigs, has been affected by a decline in
drilling for natural gas.
The Calgary-based company said it recorded an impairment
charge of C$192 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31 related to
the decommissioning of 52 lower-tier drilling rigs.
The company also expects capital expenditure of C$526
million this year, down from the C$868 million it spent last
Drilling for natural gas has mostly been in decline for more
than a year - the count is down nearly 55 percent since peaking
in 2011 at 936.
Precision's shares closed at C$9.01 on the Toronto Stock
Exchange on Wednesday. They have lost about a fifth of their
value over the past 12 months.