May 4, 2009 / 10:35 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 3-Chesapeake 1st-qtr loss widens, shares drop 7.5 pct

* Takes $6 billion writedown on oil and gas properties

* Profit falls short of Wall Street’s expectations

* Shares fall 7.5 pct post-market (Updates share price; adds byline, analyst comment, EOG results)

By Anna Driver

HOUSTON, May 4 (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) reported a larger first-quarter loss on Monday as the natural gas company took a $6.02 billion charge to write down the value of its oil and gas properties and said it may cut spending more.

The U.S. recession has cut into industrial demand for natural gas, causing supplies to swell.

As a result, natural gas prices have fallen more than 40 percent from a year ago, prompting many producers to slice drilling budgets and shut in production.

“It was an OK quarter,” said Phil Weiss, oil analyst at Argus Research. “I know they didn’t decide until April that they were cutting production, but they probably should have done that earlier given how low gas prices were.”

Last month, Chesapeake said it was curtailing about 13 percent of its natural gas production, citing weak prices.

Chesapeake, which went on a spending binge in 2008 to secure the right to drill in shale plays like Haynesville in Louisiana, said it has reduced its 2009 and 2010 drilling budget 8 percent to $6 billion.

Chesapeake’s net loss was $5.75 billion, or $9.63 per share, compared with a net loss of $1 billion, or $1.74 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding the writedown and other items, Chesapeake earned $277 million, or 46 cents per share, down from $438 million, or 75 cents a share, a year ago.

On that basis Wall Street analysts on average had expected a profit of 48 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The Oklahoma City company said its natural gas output rose 5 percent to 2.37 billion cubic feet equivalent per day.

Larger oil and gas rival EOG Resources Inc (EOG.N) reported a 34 percent slide in first-quarter earnings on Monday. But EOG also raised its 2009 production growth outlook to 5.5 percent from 3 percent, giving its shares a lift.

Chesapeake shares fell about 7.5 percent in extended trading, after closing up $1.93 at $22.82 on the New York Stock Exchange. By contrast, EOG shares edged up more than 1 percent from a close of $72.04. (Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; Editing by Richard Chang and Steve Orlofsky)

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below