Chesapeake, hurt by falling oil prices, posts large 4Q loss

Cuero’s Texas swagger fades as the oil town finds itself in an OPEC squeeze. Shown, an oil exploration rig pictured in a truck’s side mirror in 2004 in Inez, about 40 miles southeast of Cuero. CREDIT: Bloomberg News photo by Mike Fuentes).

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Chesapeake Energy, hurt by falling oil prices, reported a large loss in its fourth-quarter and said its revenue fell by more than half. But its adjusted earnings and revenue were still better than what Wall Street analysts expected and its shares soared Wednesday.

Like other energy companies, Chesapeake has cut jobs, spending and sold businesses to save money. This year, the company said it expects to cut spending on drilling and other projects by 57 percent from the year before. It also expects to sell assets worth between $500 million to $1 billion. On Wednesday, FourPoint Energy said it agreed to buy some of Chesapeake’s oil and gas assets in Oklahoma and Texas for $385 million.

Chesapeake reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.19 billion, or $3.36 per share, compared with net income of $639 million, or 81 cents per share, in same period a year ago.

Losses, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 16 cents per share, surpassing Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 18 cents per share.

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The company posted revenue of $1.27 billion from its oil and natural gas unit, surpassing Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $778 million.

Chesapeake also posted $1.38 billion in revenue from its marketing, gathering and compression unit, bringing its total revenue to $2.65 billion, a 53 percent drop from the same period a year ago.

For the year, the company reported a loss of $14.69 billion, or $22.43 per share, swinging to a loss in the period. Revenue from its oil and natural gas unit was reported as $5.39 billion.

Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp., based in Oklahoma City, jumped 45 cents, or 20 percent, to $2.65 in afternoon trading Wednesday. Its shares are still down about 87 percent in the last 12 months.

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