Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chesapeake Rivals Circle Ahead of Asset Sales

The issue is whether a higher value will be realised by breaking the company up, or accepting a bid for the group as a whole.
Chevron, the second-largest US company by market capitalisation, which has been relatively slow in acquiring American shale reserves, would top the list of possible buyers, with European companies such as Total or even BP also likely to be interested.
Chesapeake’s principal assets are leases to produce oil and gas across a vast area of the US: roughly 15m acres, or twice the size of the state of Massachusetts.
The company is now the largest or second-largest leaseholder in many of the most productive or promising areas in the US for producing shale gas and oil: resources that were previously inaccessible but have been unlocked in the past 10 years by improvements in techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.
The perennially bullish Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake’s chief executive, believes that those assets, even after this year’s planned disposals, are worth $50bn-$60bn. Realising their full value, however, will not be easy.

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