Chesapeake Energy Shares Rise as Results Top Forecasts with Wires

Chesapeake Energy reported improved results that handily topped forecasts, pushing shares of the company higher in late trading.

The natural gas company reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of 82 cents a share. Chesapeake earned 46 cents a share during the same period a year earlier.

Sales for the most recent quarter rose to $2.8 billion, up from $2 billion last year.

The company was seen earning 70 cents a share on revenue of $2.37 billion, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Shares of Chesapeake were up moderately in extended trading Tuesday. The shares closed at $23.63 in the regular New York Stock Exchange session. Volume exceeded 12 million shares before the closing bell.

Natural Gas

Chesapeake has been a key developer of gas production from shale, a kind of sedimentary rock found in geological formations around the world. The gas, tightly locked in the rock, had been expensive to extract until recently.

Chesapeake and other producers have become so prolific that production forecasts have been increasing even as some operations have been reduced due to low gas prices or Chesapeake taking on partners for some projects.

The company announced in January that it was selling a quarter of its stake in the Barnett shale in Texas to French oil company Total for $2.25 billion. Even with the sale, Chesapeake raised its production forecast 8 percent to 10 percent this year and 15 percent to 17 percent next year.

Natural gas is taking on a bigger energy role in the U.S., especially for electricity generation. Last year, electric generation from natural gas increased 5.1 percent while generation from coal fell 10.8 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration. More than a fifth of the nation's electricity now comes from gas.

—AP contributed to this story.