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Range Resources to sell Va. natural gas operations for $876M

Range Resources Corp. said it is selling its natural gas operations in the Nora field of southwestern Virginia for $876 million to an unspecified buyer.

The Fort Worth-based company, which is Pennsylvania’s No. 4 shale gas producer, said last week it expected to announce at least one sale of assets outside its core area in the Marcellus and Utica shales. Natural gas prices that recently hit three-year lows have several top shale gas producers pondering sales to pay off debt.

“While these are great assets operated by a talented team, bringing the value forward through a sale was the best decision for our shareholders,” CEO Jeff Ventura said Tuesday in announcing the sale.

The gas from Range’s 3,500 wells in the Nora, where the company gathers coal bed methane and drills in tight shale, accounted for 7.5 percent of Range’s production. The sale will help the company reduce its total debt by 24 percent.

In related news, Range Resources looking to sell assets as low gas prices remain a drag.

Range held half of the 460,000 acres in the area until last year, when it acquired the other half in a swap with Downtown-based EQT Corp., which got operations in the Permian Basin of West Texas in that deal.

Range last week reported a net loss of $301 million, or $1.81 per share, during the third quarter, which compared to a profit of $146 million, or 86 cents per share, during the same period last year.

The loss included a $502 million write-down on oil and gas properties in Oklahoma and northwestern Pennsylvania. Without that charge and other one-time financial items, Range reported adjusted net income of $5.5 million, or 3 cents per share.

Like other producers, it has reduced spending and drilling as it battles low prices caused by a glut in Appalachia.

This article was written by DAVID CONTI from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.