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Trainees roll pipe off the catwalk during a training session at Precision Drilling in Nisku, Alta., on Jan. 20, 2016.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Precision Drilling Corp. reported a loss in its first quarter and warned that it expected a significant and sustained drop in customer demand for oil and gas services well into next year as a result of the recent plunge in oil prices.

The drilling company says the COVID-19 pandemic and the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has resulted in the deepest downturn the oil and gas services industry has ever experienced.

Precision says it lost $5.3 million or two cents per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31 compared with a profit of $25.0 million or eight cents per diluted share a year earlier.

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Revenue totalled $379.5 million, down from $434.0 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Analysts on average had expected a loss of three cents per share for the quarter and $379.4 million in revenue, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Last month, Precision Drilling reduced staff, cut salaries and lowered its capital spending plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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