May 7 (Reuters) - Apache Corp reported a quarterly loss on Thursday as low commodity prices took a toll, but a recent rally in crude has the U.S. oil and gas company preparing for a rebound.
Crude oil prices fell by more than half from a June peak over $100 a barrel. In response, the Houston-based company slashed spending 60 percent and drastically cut its rig count.
Those actions have left the company in good shape to spring to action as crude prices move higher. Crude is trading in New York around $60 a barrel up from lows of around $42 in recent months.
Apache, which drills in North American shale fields in Texas as well as in the Egyptian desert and the North Sea, plans to monitor oil prices and will reconsider its 2015 drilling plans at mid-year.
"Should oil prices stabilize at these higher levels, and cash flow increase accordingly, we are well-positioned to ramp up the drilling program in an efficient and cost-effective manner," Apache Chief Executive Officer John Christmann said on a conference call.
Crude oil around $65 a barrel is enough to invest in new drilling in the Canyon Lime and Eagle Ford fields in Texas, he said, adding that any new wells would have to compete for capital with other projects.
Harold Hamm, the chief executive officer of Bakken operator Continental Resources Inc, told investors on a Thursday conference call that oil at $70 a barrel "turns it on for us," in response to a question about at what price rigs would go back to work.
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