Aug 4 (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Apache Corp said on Thursday it had started deploying additional capital and expected spending this year to be at the higher end of its forecast range, given "modest signs of improvement" in oil prices.
Apache said it expected to spend at the high end of its 2016 capital forecast of $1.4 billion-$1.8 billion.
U.S. benchmark oil prices have shot up nearly 58 percent since touching a 12 year-low of $26 in February, prompting oil producers to put rigs back to work.
Apache said it recently added a rig in the Midland Basin in Texas and was maintaining operations on two rigs in the North Sea, while "accelerating strategic testing initiatives".
The company spoke of a "better investment environment" in May, signaling that it may ramp up spending.
Chesapeake Energy Corp also said on Thursday it expected capital spending this year to be at the higher end of its forecast range.
Apache's total oil and gas output averaged 535,456 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in the second quarter, down from 579,827 boed in the year-earlier period.
Apache's total revenue slumped nearly 39 percent, outpacing a near-32 percent fall in total costs and expenses.
The Houston-based company's net loss narrowed to $244 million, or 65 cents per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from $860 million, or $2.28 per share, a year earlier.
The company's adjusted loss was 26 cents per share under a new accounting method it adopted during the quarter. Based on the previous method, Apache earned 5 cents per share.
Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 15 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo and Cowen & Co said Apache's adjusted profit of 5 cents per share was comparable to their estimates of a loss of 16-24 cents per share.
"(Apache) delivered a Q2 EPS, cash flow and production beat," analysts at Simmons & Co wrote in a note. "A bit of noise this quarter around the EPS given the change in accounting methods."
Apache's revenue of $1.38 billion was marginally above analysts' estimate of $1.37 billion.
(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)
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