Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) is a producer of natural gas in the United States and according to their 3Q 2007 report, is the largest independent producer, third overall (including majors) and the most active driller of new wells in the US. Their primary growth is due to acquisitions and mergers.
The company's world headquarters is located at a corporate campus in the near northwest side of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Chesapeake was co-founded by CEO and chairman Aubrey McClendon and former COO and president Tom L. Ward. The company completed its initial public offering in early 1993 and now trades under the symbol CHK on the NYSE.
As of August 2007, Chesapeake is the largest independent producer of natural gas in the United States. The only two larger producers are majors BP and ConocoPhilips. McClendon was also recognized by Forbes magazine as one of America's top-performing executives.
Chesapeake owns oil and natural gas wells in several states, including Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico. With the recent acquisition of the holding company of Columbia Natural Resources, LLC and certain affiliated entities (CNR), they have a leasehold in Appalachia, primarily in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, eastern Ohio and southern New York. Chesapeake is the most active driller of new wells in the United States. As of the end of 2Q 2007, the company's proved natural gas reserves were approximately 10.0 trillion cubic feet equivalent. This is up from 9.0 tcfe year end 2006.
Chesapeake has often been mentioned by TV personality and stock analyst Jim Cramer on his show Mad Money.
As of March 2, 2006, Chesapeake has been added into the S&P 500, replacing Dana Corp.
On September 13, 2007, Governor Jodi Rell of Connecticut accused American natural gas companies, and specifically Chesapeake, of market manipulation to raise natural gas prices by choosing to reduce its production. McClendon personally responded with a letter to Rell and Connecticut's representatives in the United States Congress explaining the justification for the reduction in production and accusing Rell of hypocrisy in the issue:
If it is true that large speculators have influenced trends in oil and natural gas prices, who are these speculators that have driven oil prices to record levels that are punishing U.S. oil consumers and natural gas prices that are causing the U.S. natural gas industry to sell their product below oil price equivalency levels? From what we have read, these speculators are primarily hedge funds and, significant to this discussion, many are Connecticut-based hedge funds, most notably last year, Greenwich-based Amaranth Advisors. Over the past week, we have examined your campaign contribution records and it is evident that you have received donations from principals and employees of many hedge funds, some of which may have been involved in causing oil prices to be higher than they should be and natural gas prices to be lower than they should be.