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Production hindrances have plagued many players in the oil and gas sector in the third quarter. One company that bucked the trend was Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) , as it saw increased production and revenue in its third-quarter report.
The company increased its average daily production by 9% both yearly and sequentially. Liquid production went up a mind-boggling 91% compared with the year-ago period and fetched good prices.
Natural gas, which is Chesapeake's mainstay, contributed 83% to the output but had a lower price realization in the quarter. Falling natural gas prices are a cause for concern, given the gradually diminishing difference between cost and sale price. The very fact that natural gas is widely available has sunk its prices. However, if cost is not controlled, the natural gas business might just bring losses for the energy provider. Notwithstanding the falling natural gas prices, Chesapeake has ample resources to take revenues up through volume. Revenue in the quarter increased 54% against the same period last year thanks to increased liquid production and higher price realizations.
Chesapeake is aggressive when it comes to adding reserves and creating inventory. For the second time in a row, it added 1.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent of reserves during the quarter. Chesapeake has the largest combined inventories of onshore leasehold and 3-D seismic maps in the U.S. territory. The company also has the largest inventory of U.S. natural gas shale play leasehold with 12 of the top 15 unconventional liquid-rich plays under its wings.
What's more, it's also found a smart way of waving off leasehold cost and creating joint ventures.
Smart joint ventures
Chesapeake enters into a joint venture with a foreign firm by selling a portion of its leasehold area at a price which is greater than the cost of the total leasehold area. This creates a win-win situation for both the partners. Chesapeake rakes in the moola while retaining control over the project, and the joint venture provides the foreign company access to oil and gas assets in the U.S. Recently Chesapeake entered into a joint venture (the seventh of its kind) with an undisclosed foreign firm for its Utica shale play. The list of such foreign partners only keeps getting better for Chesapeake. Beat this: Total (NYSE: TOT ) for Barnett Shale play, BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP ) for Fayetteville Shale, Statoil (NYSE: STO ) for Marcellus Shale, Plains Exploration and Production Company (NYSE: PXP ) for Haynesville Shale, and CNOOC (NYSE: CEO ) for Eagle Ford Shale. Chesapeake has three more similar deals lined up for 2012.
Foolish bottom line
I think Chesapeake is a smart energy player, building up natural gas resources to fit into the global demand for energy. The almost feverish pitch with which it is adding reserves must have made oil majors stand up and take notice. Don't take your eyes off this one.
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