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Range Resources posts $32.5M 1Q profit

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Monday, April 28, 2014, 7:15 p.m.
 

Big production from more Marcellus gas wells helped Range Resources Corp. reverse its fortunes from a year ago and post $32.5 million in profit for the first three months of 2014.

The Fort Worth-based company said on Monday it reached a record in production during the January-March quarter with a 21 percent increase over the same period last year. Its biggest gains were in natural gas liquids and oil and condensate production.

“During the first quarter, we drilled our two highest rate wells ever in the Marcellus shale and Mississippian Chat plays, costs are continuing to decline, and two of our three major ethane projects became fully operational,” CEO Jeff Ventura said in a written statement.

Company officials plan to discuss the results on Tuesday morning.

Range reported $457 million in revenue for the quarter, a 43 percent increase from the $319 million it reported in the first quarter of 2013, when it posted a $75.6 million loss. That loss included $96.8 million in losses tied to hedging strategies in the commodities market and putting aside $35 million for a lawsuit.

The recent quarter's earnings resulted in profit of 20 cents per share and compared with a loss of 47 cents per share during the same period a year ago.

Range said it expects production to continue growing 20 to 25 percent year-over-year while it focuses on high-producing wells in the Marcellus and in the Midwest. Production from wells around Western Pennsylvania increased by 34 percent over the same period last year with 13 new wells.

The company has been able to ship ethane — a liquid extract from the gas — to customers in Canada and the Gulf Coast at a time of uncertainty for the liquid market. Tulsa-based Williams shelved its plan for a pipeline to the Gulf Coast because of a lack of commitments from producers.

Last week, partner MarkWest shut down two processing complexes in Washington County and West Virginia for scheduled maintenance of connections to several pipeline projects. Range said the project went smoothly and production restarted.

Also last week, Range received a citation from the state Department of Environmental Protection for allowing a leak from a fracking water impoundment to contaminate hundreds of tons of soil in Washington County. The company is removing and replacing soil contaminated with salts from drilling water while workers and the DEP try to determine a cause of the leak at the John Day facility in Amwell.

“We have to figure out how it was not discovered for quite a few months, considering the fact they have leak detection,” department spokesman John Poister said.

Inspectors don't know how much leaked or whether it tainted water supplies. It's to early to determine how much of a fine the company will receive, Poister said.

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

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