UPDATE 2-CNX Gas Q1 profit up on higher production

jueves 23 de abril de 2009 18:55 CEST

* Q1 EPS $0.36 vs est $0.34

* Q1 production up 38 percent

* Says number of rigs has fallen to 8 from 22

* Raises 2009 production view to 87 bcf from 85 bcf

* Shares up 11 percent (Recasts; adds details, conference call comments, share movement)

BANGALORE, April 23 (Reuters) - CNX Gas Corp's CXG.N first-quarter profit beat expectations, helped by a 38 percent jump in production despite a drop in the number of rigs in operation, sending its shares up as much as 11 percent.

"The most productive rigs are still operating. We have 8 rigs running right now on the gas side compared to 22 rigs running a year ago. We are only drilling in the most valuable places that we see," Chief Executive Brett Harvey said on a conference call with analysts.

The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States have fallen to their lowest level in more than six years, according to a recent report by oil services firm Baker Hughes Inc in Houston. [ID:nN17466220]

Tighter credit and a 70 percent slide in gas prices over the last nine months has forced many producers to scale back drilling operations.   Continuación...