Chesapeake Energy, the No. 2 producer in the Barnett Shale, said it lost $159 million in the fourth quarter as it took several charges, including a $120 million expense "for the purchase of debt and the extinguishment of a lease obligation" in its Fort Worth area operation. It did not provide further detail of the charge. Chesapeake has put up for sale its Chesapeake Plaza office tower in Fort Worth, and said in its earnings report Wednesday that it "is marketing or has under contract sales of certain real estate and other non-E&P assets, excluding ... Chesapeake Oilfield Services, which are expected to generate proceeds of approximately $650 million during 2014." The company announced Monday that it was considering a sale of the oilfield services division, which includes 115 drilling rigs and had 2013 revenues of about $2.2 billion.
After adjustments for unusual items, the Oklahoma City-based company said it earned $161 million, or 27 cents a share, well short of Wall Street's consensus estimate of 41 cents. Its shares (ticker: CHK) were down 6 percent in early trading on heavy volume. It did not break out its Barnett operating results, but in its most recent investor presentation reported that it expected to spend less than 5 percent of its 2014 capital budget in the North Texas gas field. It said it expected to operate one drilling rig in the field in 2014.
-- Jim Fuquay