HOUSTON - XTO Energy Inc on Wednesday said it has increased price hedges for its production in 2010, and the company expects natural gas prices to recover next year.

We have now hedged approximately fifty-five percent of our projected 2010 production and remain confident of a stronger natural gas environment, Bob Simpson, XTO's chairman and founder, said in a statement.

The change in its hedges will allow XTO to lock in good cash margins and cash flow while still allowing it to benefit from higher natural gas prices, the company said.

XTO also said a well in the Bakken Shale oil and gas field was completed at an initial daily production rate of 2,700 barrels of oil equivalent. XTO said it will double the number of rigs it has drilling in the Bakken, which is located in Montana and North Dakota, to six next year.

Shares of the Fort Worth, Texas, company rose 22 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $43.05 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston, Editing by Maureen Bavdek)