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Trican Well Service employees walk toward liquid nitrogen storage tanks at a hydraulic fracturing operation near Bowden, Alta., on Feb. 14, 2012.

Jeff McIntosh/The Globe and Mail

Trican Well Service Ltd. is reporting positive first-quarter earnings as a modest rise in oilfield activity allowed revenue to recover from the previous quarter but not to the level it reached in the first three month of 2020.

The Calgary-based well completion company says it had net income of $5.9 million on revenue of $148 million in the three months ended March 31, compared with a loss of $155 million on revenue of $192 million in the year earlier period (when it recognized $157 million of asset impairments and one-time expenses from market events).

In the fourth quarter, it had a loss of $22 million on $103 million in revenue.

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Trican says it is receiving positive customer feedback after introducing the first well fracturing pressure pumper in Canada equipped with a CAT Tier 4 dynamic gas blending engine that displaces up to 85 per cent of the diesel used in a conventional pumper with natural gas, reducing carbon dioxide and particulate matter emissions.

The pumpers are used to inject liquids and chemicals into wells under high pressure to break up tight rock formations and allow trapped oil and gas to escape into the well bore.

It has increased its 2021 capital budget to $40 million to build a fleet of the units, backed by a three-year agreement with Tourmaline Oil Corp., Canada’s largest natural gas producer, to deploy them at its sites in northeastern B.C. and northwestern Alberta.

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