UPDATE 2-Chesapeake ramps up asset sales to repay debt amid oil slump

Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:41am EST
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* Raises $700 mln in asset sales vs plan of $200-$300 mln

* Plans to sell assets worth another $500 mln to $1 bln

* Sets 2016 capex of $1.3 bln-$1.8 bln, down 57 pct from 2015

* Production to fall by as much as 5 pct in 2016

* Q4 adj loss of 16 cents/shr vs est. loss of 17 cents (Adds details)

Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp said it would make a debt payment due in March and that it planned to sell more assets as it aims to slash its debt load amid collapsing energy prices.

Chesapeake said earlier this month that it has tapped legal counsel Kirkland & Ellis to advise the company as it seeks to strengthen its balance sheet following a debt exchange, and that it had no plans to pursue bankruptcy.

The company said on Wednesday that it has struck deals to raise $700 million from asset divestitures so far this year. That is much higher than the $200-$300 million it had planned to raise through asset sales this year.

Chesapeake said it plans to sell assets worth another $500 million to $1 billion this year, and outlined a capital expenditure budget of $1.3-$1.8 billion, down 57 percent from 2015 levels.   Continued...