January 29, 2020 / 1:20 PM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Chesapeake cuts debt by $900 mln in fourth quarter

(Adds details on debt, background)

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp said on Wednesday it had cut debt by $900 million in the fourth quarter, easing some concerns that the natural gas producer might not be able to meet its loan covenants.

Shares of the company, which in November warned on its ability to continue as a going concern, rose 2.3% to 53 cents in premarket trading.

Chesapeake had in December completed a term-loan refinancing with support from 99% of debtholders and later refinanced some longer-dated notes.

That helped the company push down its principal debt to $8.9 billion at the end of 2019 from $9.7 billion at Sept. 30.

"We remain committed to achieving further meaningful debt reduction through asset sales, capital markets transactions and cost discipline," Chief Executive Officer Doug Lawler said.

About $300 million of the company's debt matures this year and it had about $1.4 billion of liquidity at the end of 2019.

Reuters reported last month that Chesapeake's refinancing plans had side lined a $1 billion deal to sell gas assets in Louisiana to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' Comstock Resources Inc.

Chesapeake on Wednesday also forecast average oil production of 125,000 to 126,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter, slightly below the 10% sequential growth it had earlier targeted.

Chesapeake expects fourth-quarter production of between 476,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) and 478,000 boepd, which at its midpoint was slightly lower than the third-quarter output of 478,000 boepd. (Reporting by Shanti S Nair and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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