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Keane Group posts bigger loss on higher costs

March 15 (Reuters) - Oil driller Keane Group Inc reported a bigger loss for the fourth quarter on Tuesday due to higher costs, and the company forecast an increase in first-quarter gross revenue.

A significant increase in demand from oil producers would also allow the company to comfortably commission a part of its idle fleet through 2017, Chief Executive James Stewart told Reuters.

Keane Group said the continuation of present market conditions would result in a sequential gross revenue increase of 30 percent to 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

Oil prices have started to recover from the multi-year lows it hit in February last year. Crude producers have been encouraged to put more rigs back to work, especially in low-cost North American shale fields.

Keane Group's net loss widened to 38.5 million, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from a loss of 25.7 million, a year earlier.

Revenue nearly tripled to $151 million.

The company's quarterly costs more than doubled to $180 million, on increased drilling activity.

While pricing continues to improve, input cost inflation, which includes sand costs and pressure on wages, would continue to be a headwind for the industry, CEO James Stewart said.

(Reporting by Vishaka George in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)