The Wall Street Journal: Fracking pioneer Chesapeake Energy files for bankruptcy

By the end of 2008, the Oklahoma City-based company had drilling rights to nearly 15 million acres, according to a securities filing, an empire roughly the size of West Virginia. That vast footprint once helped Chesapeake earn the title of second-largest U.S. gas producer.

But Chesapeake’s breakneck growth left it highly leveraged, and it was far slower than many of its peers to pivot to tapping shale formations for oil, which turned out to be much more lucrative than gas. The result was a painful fall in recent years as Chesapeake shrank, selling assets to pare debt before winding up in bankruptcy court.

Chesapeake is one of many debt-laden U.S. oil and gas producers now facing a reckoning as a coronavirus-induced economic slowdown saps demand for fossil fuels.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com:

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