(adds details, estimates)
April 30 (Reuters) - Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Monday, helped by new contracts for the company's deep-water rigs.
Rig utilization was at 52 percent during the first quarter, from 47 percent last year, even as average day rates, which clients pay to use the company's deep-water rigs fell 4 percent.
Deepwater drilling has suffered as cheaper land-based shale oil fracking has pushed producers away from undersea crude.
Excluding items, the rig contractor lost 16 cents per share, while on average analysts estimated a loss of 19 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S
Net income fell to $19.3 million, or 14 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $23.5 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.
Total revenue fell 20.8 percent to $295.5 million. (Reporting by Karan Nagarkatti in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)