UPDATE 1-Range Resources says Q1 output rises 12 pct
* Rigs in operation in Q1 falls to 15 vs 33 year-ago
* To record $12 mln exploration expense in Q1
* Says on track to double Marcellus production in 2009
* Says low cost structure helps
April 16 (Reuters) - Independent oil and gas company Range Resources Corp (RRC.N: Cotización) said first-quarter production grew 12 percent beating its own target despite a 54 percent fall in operational rigs, as its Marcellus and Barnett shale plays and Nora field progressed well.
Range expects to recognize an exploration expense of about $12 million, including $8 million in seismic expenditures, for the quarter, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company said.
While first-quarter production rose to 416 million cubic feet equivalent per day (Mmcfe), the number of rigs in operations fell to 15 from 33, a year earlier.
"We are well-positioned to continue to add per-share value despite the lower commodity prices. Our low cost structure, strong hedge position and increasing production are leading the way," Chief Executive John Pinkerton said in a statement.
"We are on track to more than double our Marcellus production in 2009," Pinkerton said. Continuación...