Independents use hedging more to lock in high gas prices

US independent oil and gas companies have responded to the recent spikes and increased volatility in oil and natural gas prices by stepping up the practice of price hedging to shore up earnings and capital spending.Hedging can be a tricky practice to manage, and guessing wrong on price can do a lot of damage to a company's bottom line. The depth of the recent plunge in US gas prices caught virtually everyone by surprise, so some producers have succeeded nicely with what historically might have seemed high-priced hedges. Others missed a golden opportunity.But, in general, US independents are becoming more comfortable with the practice. While taking a breather from the wild price roller...

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