Chesapeake Energy cuts spending plans, again, shares slide

The Associated Press

Chesapeake Energy slashed its spending plans for the second time this year after posting third-quarter losses of $4.6 billion as it wrote down the value of its oil and natural gas fields.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Chesapeake Energy slashed its spending plans for the second time this year after posting third-quarter losses of $4.6 billion as it wrote down the value of its oil and natural gas fields.

Natural gas prices have been almost halved in the past year and shares of Chesapeake have fallen even faster, giving up another 8 percent Wednesday.

The natural gas driller trimmed its capital budget by about 14 percent to between, $3.4 billion to $3.9 billion, the second time it has trimmed spending in 2015 with few signs that energy prices will rebound.

Chesapeake has already cut its workforce by about 15 percent, hitting its home state especially hard with most occurring at company headquarters in Oklahoma City. The company said in September that 560 people would lose jobs at its headquarters.

Chesapeake swung to a quarterly loss of $4.65 billion, or $7.08 per share, after eking out a $169 million profit in the same period a year earlier. Mostly because it wrote off the value of its oil and gas properties, the company took an impairment charge of $5.42 billion.

Those assets can regain their value when energy prices rise.

Losses, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 5 cents per share, which was better than per-share losses of 13 cents that Wall Street had expected, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue for oil, natural gas and liquid natural gas was $880 million, well short of the $899.8 million that analysts had projected, according to a survey by Zacks.

Overall revenue was cut in half, falling from $5.7 billion last year, to $2.9 billon. That was also shy of expectations.

For the third quarter, the company's average realized oil price was $62.68 per barrel, down 26 percent from $84.81 last year. The average realized natural gas price fell by 45 percent to $1.14 per thousand cubic feet from $2.09.

Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. fell 61 cents to $7 Wednesday. Shares are down 64 percent this year, outpacing the 46 percent decline in natural gas futures.

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