Chesapeake Energy said Thursday that a reorganization of its Eastern Division headquarters in Charleston, W.V., would either eliminate or relocate to Oklahoma City 215 of 255 jobs there. Charleston will become a regional field office. The move is expected to be complete by June 30. The Charleston office is part of Chesapeake's Marcellus Shale operation in the Appalachians. The company said it will still have more than 400 employees in the state.
Julie Wilson, Chesapeake's top officer in the Barnett Shale, said the company plans to slightly expand local employment here as it completes additional wells in 2009.
Chairman Aubrey McClendon said the cuts "became inevitable when we decided last year not to build our $40 million regional headquarters office complex in Charleston" after the state Supreme Court refused to hear Chesapeake's appeal of a $405 million jury verdict. That award was based on a lawsuit that charged that gas producers, which Chesapeake later acquired, had cheated landowners out of royalties. McClendon said that while the court decision "was not the primary reason for the reorganization, it did play a significant role in our decision."
-- Jim Fuquay