Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained from time to time in the company's SEC filings, which may be obtained by contacting the company or the SEC. These filings are also available through the company's website and through the SEC's EDGAR system.The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. Statements made in this conference call include non-GAAP financial measures. The required reconciliations to GAAP financial measures are included on our website, www.patenergy.com, and in the company's press release issued prior to this conference call. And now it's my pleasure to turn the call over to Mark Siegel for some opening remarks. Mark? Mark S. Siegel Thanks, Mike. Good morning and welcome to Patterson-UTI's conference call for first quarter 2012. We are pleased that you're able to join us today. As is customary, I will start by briefly reviewing the financial results for the quarter ended March 31, and then I will turn the call over to Doug Wall, who will share some detailed comments on each segment's operational highlights for the quarter, as well as our outlook. After Doug's comments, I will share some closing remarks before turning the call over for questions. Before I start, I'd like the take a moment to welcome Andy Hendricks to our team. Andy recently joined the company as our Chief Operating Officer and we are delighted to have him. We believe Andy's experience and leadership abilities will help us to continue to execute on our goal of delivering exceptional shareholder value. Turning now to the first quarter, as set forth in our earnings press release issued this morning, we reported net income of $97.3 million or $0.62 per share for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012. EBITDA for the quarter improved to $281 million, marking the 11th consecutive quarter of EBITDA growth.
There were many challenges during the first quarter. As you are all aware, the weak pricing environment for natural gas led many of our customers to reallocate their capital spending plans towards oil and liquids-rich basins. On the Contract Drilling side, we have moved people and equipment out of natural gas basins to better align ourselves with our customers' drilling plans. In the Pressure Pumping business, the slowdown in natural gas activity, some seasonal weakness in the Northeast and the overall excess supply of frac equipment have combined to create a difficult Pressure Pumping market in terms of both utilization and pricing. Despite these challenges, our first quarter results are actually slightly better than the expectations we had in the beginning of February 2012.In terms of revenue, we saw sequential growth at both of our core businesses, but the majority of the growth came from our Contract Drilling, in which day rates continue to improve and activities levels benefited from 5 new Apex rigs that were added to the fleet. In Pressure Pumping, despite the challenges in this market, we were able to achieve a slight sequential increase in revenues as our growth in our Southwest market offset the decline in the Northeast. In the current natural gas pricing environment, our customers in the Northeast seem to be delaying well completions, which accentuated the problems arising from the oversupply of equipment in this market. The lower utilization, combined with some pricing erosion in the Northeast, negatively impacted our margins. But because of the strength in the Southwest, our overall gross margin percentage only fell by approximately 80 basis points, outperforming our internal expectations. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com