CEO Doug Lawler spoke at the Scotia Howard Weil energy conference in New Orleans this week and says the company will not sell assets without getting good value, even as it tries to fix its debt-burdened balance sheet. “We’re not desperate to sell assets,” Lawler says. “We know we need to improve the balance sheet, but we don’t have to sell anything in the near term.”
Chesapeake has been working to trim its current debt load of $9.97B, which is more than 3x its market valuation.
The driller saw its debt burden balloon as it embarked on a massive spree of land buying under late founder and former Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon during the early days of the U.S. shale drilling boom.
Chesapeake, an early adopter of advanced drilling methods to free natural gas from shale rock, has been moving aggressively to reduce its debt since Lawler became CEO in 2013.
Chesapeake announced in February it had reached three separate deals to sell wells and leases in Oklahoma for a total of $500 million. The sales included Chesapeake’s remaining producing properties and acreage in northwest Oklahoma’s Mississippi Lime, as well as properties in central and western Oklahoma. The sales included 238,000 net acres and 3,000 wells producing about 23,000 barrels of oil equivalent net to Chesapeake.