The WorkBoat Composite Index finished the first quarter losing 119 points in March, or 3.55%. For the month, losers topped winners 17-7.

Among the losers was drilling contractor Nabors Industries, which dipped 19% in March. However, the company has posted several strong quarters in a row.

During the company’s fourth-quarter conference call, Tony Petrello, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said the fourth quarter marked the third consecutive quarter of sequential earnings growth above 20%, consolidated revenue increased 10% sequentially, and the company’s global average rig count increased by 3.4 rigs. The growth was driven by increases in both the U.S. and international markets, Petrello said.

Looking forward, Petrello said that “with the spot and future prices for WTI in the current range, we believe the outlook for continued increases in drilling activity in Lower 48 is still constructive. We expect these increases to materialize as we move throughout the year.”

But several factors could affect the company’s outlook. “Foremost among these is the possibility of a recession, which reduces the demand for oil.”

But “inflation has declined in key areas, namely metals and metal subassemblies. That said, lead times for certain components remain extended. Our vertical integration and global supply chain continue to enable us to satisfy demands of customers. Notwithstanding these factors, energy commodity markets remain constructive, giving us confidence in our outlook through 2023.” 

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.