Chesapeake Energy Corporation Shares Rise After Earnings

Chesapeake Energy released its latest quarterly numbers before opening bell this morning. The company reported adjusted earnings of 7 cents per share on $2.02 billion in revenue, compared to Wall Street’s estimates of 7 cents per share and $2.04 billion. In the year-ago quarter, the energy giant posted $2.65 billion in revenue.

Chesapeake Energy’s losses narrow

Chesapeake Energy’s GAAP losses narrowed to 84 cents per share from losses of $3.36 per share in the same quarter a year ago. EBITDA losses were $198 million in the fourth quarter. Average production for last year amounted to 635,400 barrels of oil equivalent, which was comparable with 2015 levels. Daily production averaged about 574,500 barrels of equivalent during the fourth quarter, including about 90,400 barrels of oil, 2.562 bcf of natural gas and 57,100 barrels of natural gas liquids.

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Full-year revenues for 2016 plunged 38% year over year due to a decline in the average realized commodity prices for oil and natural gas production, lower volumes, higher unrealized hedging losses and a decline in volumes sold.

Chesapeake dramatically cuts rig count

Last year the company’s average rig count was down to 10 from 28 in 2015. Chesapeake expects this year’s average rig count to be between 16 and 18.

“During 2016, we made significant progress in improving our capital efficiency, decreasing cash costs and future midstream commitments while improving our liquidity and leverage profile, which resulted in a much stronger foundation for Chesapeake going forward,” Chesapeake Energy CEO Doug Lawler said in a statement. “In 2017, we are capitalizing on these improvements across our cost structure to increase shareholder returns from our high-quality, diversified oil and natural gas portfolio.”

As of the end of 2016, the company had a debt principal balance of about $10 billion, a slight increase from $9.7 billion at the end of 2015, with $882 million in cash on hand. Chesapeake Energy cut about $901 million off its debt principal balance during the year.

Shares of Chesapeake Energy rallied by as much as 2.2% to $6.05 in premarket trades this morning, regaining most of the value they lost during regular trading hours on Wednesday.