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Chesapeake Energy is probably not done selling assets, says CEO Doug Lawler

Chesapeake Energy CEO Doug Lawler said Thursday his company will likely sell off more oil and gas assets as it continues to reduce its debt load.

The driller saw its debt burden balloon as it embarked on a massive spree of land buying under late founder and former Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon during the early days of the U.S. shale drilling boom.

Chesapeake, an early adopter of advanced drilling methods to free natural gas from shale rock, has been moving aggressively to reduce its debt since Lawler became CEO in 2013.

"We have 11.3 billion barrels of net recoverable resources across our asset base. ... It's going to be difficult for us to drill and complete all those as fast as what we'd like. We don't have the capital funding, the cash flow to do it. So we are going to be continuing to look at additional asset sales," Lawler told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Thursday.

Chesapeake anticipates reducing debt by an additional $2 billion to $3 billion during the next two to three years, he said. That drawdown in debt will include asset sales, he added.

The company announced or finalized divestments of $2.5 billion in 2016, exceeding its previously stated goal by $500 million, according to Guggenheim Securities.

Shares of Chesapeake have risen more than 40 percent over the last year to about $7 a share. The stock saw a stunning fall from more than $60 a share in July 2008 to about $1.50 in February as natural gas and oil prices dropped and as it sought to get its financial house in order.

Chesapeake operations

Despite recent sales, Chesapeake holds assets in many basins throughout the United States. Asked whether it can maintain that scattered footprint as a $6 billion company, Lawler said he believes the holdings give Chesapeake flexibility, options and geographic diversity that afford it access to different markets.

"I look at it as a strength. The power and strength inside of Chesapeake is in our portfolio of assets and our talented employees," he said.