Chesapeake Energy Earnings Down 60%; Cutting Budget 34% in 2015

boy who cried wolfCorporate raiders Mason Hawkins and Carl Ichan, Chesapeake Energy’s two largest investors, are not happy men today. Chesapeake released its full year and fourth quarter 2014 update yesterday and earnings were down–60% from 2013. Depressed earnings can largely be blamed on the low price of natural gas and oil, but also on Chesapeake’s lower estimated production for 2015. The news resulted in a stampede of investors selling Chessy’s stock–which took a massive 11% hit yesterday. Among the many bits of news coming from Chesapeake yesterday is that the company will slash its 2015 capital budget 34% over what it spent in 2014. There will be less drilling in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale, and Chesapeake is actually (if you believe them this time) shutting in wells in the Marcellus/Utica and curtailing some of their production, waiting for the price to increase. They’ve made that threat in the past and never followed through (see Chesapeake’s NatGas Production Cuts Never Materialized). The boy who cried wolf comes to mind. Below is the 2014 report from Chesapeake…

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