Net income for Range Resources, Western Pennsylvania's dominant natural gas driller, boomed in the second quarter of 2011, increasing nearly six-fold to $51.3 million, or 32 cents per diluted share. The same quarter last year saw net income of $9.1 million and 6 cents per diluted share.
The company attributed the rises to increases in production, with targeted drilling for natural gas liquids going up by 20 percent over the past year. Natural gas liquids like ethane are found in "wet" gas extracted from parts of the shale formation, and can be sold at higher prices on the commodities market.
Overall, production at the company was 76 percent natural gas, 17 percent natural gas liquids and 7 percent crude oil. Marcellus production went up by 100 million cubic feet equivalent per day, hitting 300 million.
In a statement, outgoing Range Resources Chief Executive Officer John Pinkerton said his company will continue to expand beyond its mid-Atlantic plays.
"In addition to the Marcellus, Upper Devonian and Utica plays in Appalachia, we are proactively expanding several other plays including the Mississippian Lime and St. Louis plays in our Midcontinent region," he said. Mr. Pinkerton will be replaced by Jeffrey Ventura as president and chief executive officer on Jan. 1. Mr. Ventura is currently president and chief operating officer of the company, and is credited with first pushing executives to explore the Marcellus Shale in 2004.