Chesapeake Energy Beats Q4 Profit Estimates Amid Lower Expenses, Production Decline

(Reuters) — Chesapeake Energy beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday as the natural gas producer saw a steep decline in its operating expenses.

However, shares were down about 3% in aftermarket trading as the firm reported a fall in its fourth-quarter production.

The company, which is based out of Oklahoma, said fourth-quarter production fell to 3.43 billion cubic feet equivalent (bcfe) per day, from 4.05 bcfe per day the previous year.

Average natural gas prices NGc1 dipped over 50% in the fourth quarter compared with last year, after demand was pressured by milder-than-expected weather.

Prices also eased from sky-high levels in 2022, when Russia's invasion of Ukraine boosted demand for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Adjusted profit was $1.31 per share for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with analysts' average estimate of 73 cents per share, according to LSEG data.

Chesapeake said in January it had agreed to buy smaller rival Southwestern Energy in an all-stock deal valued at $7.4 billion, making it the largest independent U.S. natural gas producer.

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