Once investors finished reading the verbose headline on Unit Corp.'s (NYSE:UNT) quarterly earnings press release, they promptly dumped the oil and natural gas specialist's stock. Let's see how bad things actually are for the multifaceted natural-gas player.

Quarterly revenues came in about 2% higher than last year, and they're essentially flat year to date. Contract-drilling revenues made up a smaller percentage of overall sales than they did a year ago, but it's not for lack of trying. Unit boosted its fleet by 11% over last year but saw its utilization drop from 97% to 81%. I have mixed feelings about Unit's moves in this segment, given today's tough drilling market and the firm's relative lack of pedigree in that area.

The company reported the lowest dayrate on contract drilling that I've yet to see this quarter. In the case of Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP), I'm not surprised, because of that company's technological leadership with its FlexRig design. But even little Bronco Drilling (NASDAQ:BRNC) managed to secure better rates for its rigs. I think the one bright spot in the drilling segment is that Unit continues to improve its customer mix: 74% of contracted customers are now publicly traded or major private independents, versus 65% last quarter.

In the exploration-and-production segment, gas equivalent production grew at a modest 5% clip, or 3% on a six-month basis. I can't get too excited about that news, with larger companies such as Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), Apache (NYSE:APA), and Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) all reporting double-digit production gains. The success rate on well completions was the lowest in many years, a situation that partially explains the unseemly rise in per-foot operating costs. Year to date, they've risen 22%.

Last quarter, I gave you some macro reasons to feel good about this operator, but I have to admit to getting a little disenchanted through the details. I know that many events, such as a Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) refinery fire, were outside of the firm's control. Still, I see so many other skilled operators out there, performing at such a high level, that I have little appetite for Unit shares today.

Related Foolishness:

Unit Corp. is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Chesapeake Energy is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try out either newsletter service free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't own a Randy Johnson-autographed baseball or shares in any company mentioned here. The Motley Fool unites behind its disclosure policy.