Kimmeridge Energy Management Co. launched plans March 7 to nominate candidates to PDC Energy Inc.'s (NASDAQ: PDCE) board, as it seeks to cut costs and boost shareholder returns at the Denver-based oil and gas producer.

Kimmeridge owns about 5.1% of PDC's shares.

One of the three nominees is Kimmeridge's founder Ben Dell, who led the sale of the private-equity firm's Permian Basin assets to PDC in 2016.

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Alice Gould, who serves on the board of real estate investment trust CorePoint Lodging Inc., and James Adelson, who heads a privately-held oil and gas business, are the other two nominees.

A number of U.S. energy companies in recent months have come under attack from activists, who have argued for better cost management and shareholder returns.

"Those who are familiar with PDC, and the public U.S. E&P space, fully understand that the sector is becoming increasingly 'uninvestable'," Dell said in a statement.

PDC has reported a loss in three out of its last four quarters, with its shares falling some 44% in 2018. The company operates in the Denver-Julesburg Basin in Colorado and the Texas portion of the Permian Basin.

In a separate statement, PDC said it would review Kimmeridge's director nominations.

The company noted that the date of its 2019 annual meeting has not been set yet and that PDC shareholders are not required to take action at this time.

"The PDC board comprises eight highly qualified directors, seven of whom are independent and all of whom are actively engaged in the execution of the company’s strategic plan," the company said in the release on March 7. "These directors bring financial and operational experience and relevant expertise, including in the areas of oil and gas, leadership, corporate management, accounting and finance, and mergers and acquisitions."

PDC's board has appointed three new independent directors since 2017.

J.P. Morgan is serving as financial adviser to PDC and Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are serving as legal advisers.