Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the nation’s largest natural gas producers, said Wednesday it’s on track to meet its asset sale goal for the year as part of its plan to pay off its heavy debt load.
Speaking at the Barclays CEO Energy/Power Conference in New York, the company said it expects it will have sold $13 billion to $14 billion in sales by the end of the year, mostly natural gas drilling land. It expects it completed most of that — $11.7 billion — by the end of its third quarter. It hasn’t yet completely closed the books on that period, which ended in August.
Next year, it expects to sell between $4.25 and $5 billion in assets.
But despite selling off large swaths of drilling land, Chesapeake said it expects production to be up 18 percent this year over 2011.
Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, Okla., was a leader in the natural gas production boom just a few years ago, when it seemed the U.S. was running out of natural gas. But extensive production has created supply that is now so abundant that prices are near decade lows.
The price drop left Chesapeake short on cash to service a large amount of debt it accumulated while buying up land for drilling.
Its shares slipped 17 cents to $19.37 in morning trading Thursday. They are up 31 percent from their 52-week low of $13.32 in mid-May.