Chesapeake Energy, a Shale Pioneer, Recordsdata for Chapter Safety


The corporate helped turn the United States into a gas exporter however turned identified for an illegal device to suppress the save of oil and gas leases.

Credit…Steve Sisney/Reuters

Clifford Krauss

HOUSTON — Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in extracting pure gas from shale rock across the nation, filed for economic damage safety on Sunday, unable to beat a mountain of debt that turned unsustainable after a decade of stubbornly low gas prices.

The corporate helped convert the United States from a pure gas importer into a important exporter below the swashbuckling leadership of Aubrey McClendon, a company co-founder and conventional chief government.

However Mr. McClendon overextended the company and amassed over $20 billion in debt earlier than he used to be compelled out in 2013, and Chesapeake, primarily primarily primarily based in Oklahoma Metropolis, never entirely recovered.

Chesapeake lost $8.3 billion within the foremost quarter of this three hundred and sixty five days, and had correct $82 million in money at the stop of March. With $9.5 billion in debt at the stop of ultimate three hundred and sixty five days, it has bond payments of $192 million due in August.

In a direct, Chesapeake acknowledged it used to be filing for Chapter 11 safety to facilitate a full restructuring. As segment of its settlement with lenders, the company acknowledged it had secured $925 million in financing below a revolving credit rating facility, and eliminated roughly $7 billion of debt. It moreover secured a $600 million future dedication of unique equity.

“We are primarily resetting Chesapeake’s capital yell and enterprise to address our legacy financial weaknesses,” acknowledged Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s president and chief government. “Chesapeake will be uniquely positioned to emerge from the Chapter 11 course of as a stronger and extra competitive endeavor.”

Chesapeake has 1,900 workers.

It’s far basically the most stylishheavily indebted oil and gas enterpriseto be conscious economic damage safety since the coronavirus pandemic crippled query for vitality.

Under itsconventional chief governmentMr. McClendon, the company drilled across Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Wyoming and Louisiana. Mr. McClendon used to be daring as he aggressively outbid competitors on land leases and explored widely within the early 2000s, although he moreover drilled many wells that disappointed investors. By 2011, he and others who followed in his footsteps had produceda glut of pure gasthat sent Chesapeake and other companies to the brink of collapse.

To obtain a employ for all that pure gas, Mr. McClendon went on a marketing campaign to advertise compressed pure gas autos, however the difficulty went nowhere. He tried to develop alliances with environmentalists, arguing that gas may per chance per chance per chance substitute coal and be a bridge gas to a cleaner vitality future.

Earlier than hisouster in 2013, Mr. McClendon constructed an opulent campus for the company in Oklahoma Metropolis, full with a community garden, deluxe dining amenities and two parking garages that on my own cost $100 million to form.

He obtained trophy assets adore the Oklahoma Metropolis Utter basketball group, interests in a French winery and a $12 millionvintage device collection. The basketball group aloof plays in Chesapeake Energy Enviornment, which used to be a symbol of Oklahoma Metropolis’s revival as a gas hub.

From 2010 to 2013, the company spent approximately $30 billion extra on leasing and drilling than it created from its production.

Mr. McClendon used to be moreover identified to carve relieve corners, which got him and his company in anxiousness. Chesapeake executives complained of a lack of a proper budgeting course of or worker efficiency administration gadget. The corporate borrowed money to fund charities and true property tasks.

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Mr. McClendon used to be charged in 2016 with conspiring to suppress prices for oil and pure gas leases. The indictment acknowledged he had orchestrated a conspiracy wherein two oil and gas companies colluded no longer to bid against each and every other for a whole lot of leases in northwestern Oklahoma from leisurely 2007 to early 2012.

A day after the indictment, Mr. McClendon, at age 56,died in a break in Oklahoma Metropolisafter his automobile hit a bridge at excessive tempo. On news of Mr. McClendon’s death, the oil T. Boone Pickens, who died in 2019, acknowledged, “No particular person is without flaws, however his impact on American vitality will be long lasting.”

When Mr. Lawler, a feeble Anadarko government, took over the company in 2013 he known as his unique job “the greatest self-discipline to your complete enterprise.”

Mr.Lawlerhad been seeking to turn across the company by producing extra oil and promoting gas assets. However the shale drilling yell of unique years has unleashed extra impolite oil than the enviornment needs, sending prices lower. The coronavirus pandemic and a decision by Saudi Arabia and Russia this three hundred and sixty five days to ramp up production were primarily the most stylish blows.

Within the period in-between the commercial downturn has minimize query for pure gas within the United States, and slashed exports to foreign markets.

There had been rumors of a economic damage for months. Roughly 20 American oil and gas producers bear already filed for economic damage this three hundred and sixty five days, alongside with Extremely Petroleum and Whiting Petroleum. A complete of 227 producers bear filed for economic damage within the five years that ended Would possibly well well 31, exciting bigger than $134 billion in combination debt, in accordance with the Haynes and Boone Oil Patch Chapter Video display.

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