Gastar Exploration Ltd. reported net income of $12.9 million, or $0.26 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. This was an improvement from the net loss of $10.0 million, or $0.24 per share, in the same quarter of 2008.

Gastar Exploration Ltd. said that its net income was boosted in the fourth quarter of 2009 by a $17.8 million gain on the sale of its properties in Australia. In the fourth quarter of 2008, Gastar Exploration Ltd. recorded a $14.2 million non-cash charge for the impairment of natural gas and oil properties.

Gastar Exploration Ltd. said that excluding these gains and charges, it would have reported a net loss of $748,000, or $0.02 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to a net loss of $806,000, or $0.02 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Gastar Exploration Ltd. is an oil and gas exploration and production company with assets in the onshore area of the United States. These properties include the Deep Bossier natural gas play in East Texas, and the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The company also has coal bed methane operations in Wyoming and Montana.