Total Energy's Contract Drilling Services division achieved 42% utilization during the fourth quarter of 2012, recording 603 operating days (spud to release) with a fleet of 15 rigs, compared to 801 operating days, or 62% utilization, during the fourth quarter of 2011 with a fleet of 14 rigs. Revenue per operating day decreased 6% for the fourth quarter of 2012 relative to the prior year comparable period due primarily to lower pricing. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, the Contract Drilling Services division achieved 2,460 operating days (44% utilization), compared to 3,042 operating days (60% utilization) for 2011. The Rentals and Transportation Services division achieved a utilization rate on major rental equipment of 41% during the fourth quarter of 2012 as compared to a 72% utilization rate during the fourth quarter of 2011. For 2012, rental equipment utilization averaged 47% as compared to 68% for 2011. The Gas Compression Services division generated revenues of $33.9 million for the three months ended December 31, 2012 compared to $33.0 million for the same period in 2011, an increase of 3%. For 2012, revenues increased by 8% to $121.3 million compared to $112.8 million in 2011. The Gas Compression Services division exited 2012 with a $34.5 million backlog of fabrication sales orders as compared to $33.6 million at December 31, 2011. At December 31, 2012, approximately 31,700 horsepower of compression equipment was on rent compared to 25,300 horsepower on rent at December 31, 2011. The gas compression rental fleet operated at an average utilization rate of 87% and 84% for the three and twelve month periods ended December 31, 2012, respectively, as compared to 78% for the same periods in 2011.
During the fourth quarter, Total Energy declared a quarterly dividend of $0.05 per share to shareholders of record on December 31, 2012. This dividend was paid on January 31, 2013.
Western Canadian drilling activity started out somewhat slowly during the first part of January 2013. However, drilling activity levels steadily increased and have generally been at or above the five year average since mid-January. With ongoing weak natural gas prices, producers continue to focus their drilling, completion and production activities towards oil and natural gas liquids prospects. In the context of continued global economic uncertainty and unique commodity price challenges facing Canadian producers, the Company remains focused on the quality and efficiency of existing operations and the disciplined deployment of capital. In that regard, Total Energy is pleased to announce that Gerry Crawford was recently appointed Vice President, Field Services. Mr. Crawford has been with Total Energy since 1998 and had previously served as General Manager of the Company's Rentals and Transportation Services division.
Total Energy's previously announced preliminary 2013 capital expenditure plan of $32.7 million provides the Company with significant financial flexibility to pursue additional investment opportunities that may arise. Despite uncertain markets, Total Energy continues to strategically invest in the long term growth of its existing business divisions. The recently completed $14.0 million acquisition of a well-established process equipment fabrication business increases Total's exposure to large North American and international liquids and natural gas infrastructure projects. Total Energy will continue to pursue investment opportunities that will generate acceptable returns on capital.
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