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Chesapeake Says Reserves Rose 10% in 2011 as Output Increased

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Chesapeake Energy Corp. said proved reserves rose 10 percent to the equivalent of 18.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2011 as production increased.

Average daily output was equivalent to 3.27 billion cubic feet of gas, 15 percent more than in 2010, Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, said today in a statement.

Chesapeake has been selling stakes in gas and oil projects to fund expansion and reduce debt. Debt net of cash at year-end 2011 was $10.2 billion, $1.4 billion less than on Sept. 30 and $2.2 billion less than a year earlier, the company said. Debt will fall to $9.5 billion by year-end 2012 regardless of the price of gas, it said.

The announcement was made before regular trading began on U.S. markets. Chesapeake rose 5.9 percent to $23.60 yesterday in New York after announcing that Total SA, the largest French oil company, plans to pay $2.03 billion in cash and drilling costs for a 25 percent stake of leases in Ohio’s Utica Shale.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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