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© The New York Times Co., from The Denver Post eEdition, June 29th, 2020

HOUSTON»Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in extracting natural gas from shale rock across the country, filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday, unable to overcome a mountain of debt that became unsustainable after a decade of stubbornly low gas prices. The company helped convert the United States from a natural gas importer into a major exporter under the leadership of Aubrey McClendon, a company co-founder and former chief executive.

But McClendon overextended the company and amassed more than $20 billion in debt before he was forced out in 2013, and the company, based in Oklahoma City, never fully recovered. Chesapeake Energy lost $8.3 billion in the first quarter of this year, and had just $82 million in cash at the end of March. With $9.5 billion in debt at the end of last year, it has bond payments of $192 million due in August. As part of its agreement with lenders, the company said it had secured $925 million in financing under a revolving credit facility, and eliminated roughly $7 billion of debt. It also secured a $600 million future commitment of new equity. — © The New York Times Co.

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