Range Resources becomes latest in energy sector to tighten belt amid tumbling energy prices

MarketsAssociated Press

Range Resources is trimming its capital spending plans, just the latest energy producer to do as crude prices plunge to levels not seen since the recession.

Shares jumped almost percent in midday trading as the company, which has a heavy focus on natural gas, said production would increase due to better efficiency.

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Crude prices slumped another 3 percent Monday and a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude traded at close to $60 per barrel. Prices are down 45 percent since this summer, a decline that was compounded late last month when OPEC said it would stick to current production levels.

Natural gas prices have slid as well, but partly because of the success of companies like Range Resources in places like the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, where production has skyrocketed.

Oil giants BP and ConocoPhillips both have recently lowered spending forecasts.

Range Resources set a 2015 capital budget of $1.3 billion, which is 18 percent lower than its 2014 capital budget. However, the Fort Worth, Texas, oil and natural gas company said that it expects its production will increase 20 percent to 25 percent through improved efficiency.

Range Resources also said Monday that it has appointed Jeff Ventura, its president and CEO, as chairman of its board, effective Jan. 1. Ventura will replace John Pinkerton, who has served as the company's chairman since 2008. Pinkerton will continue to serve as a director.

Shares of Range Resources Corp. rose $3.61 to $57.79 amid a broader market dip. Its stock price has slid since June, but hit an all-time high in April.