Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) giveth, and Chesapeake Energy taketh away.

Not long after becoming the nation's No. 1 producer, the natural-gas guru is tightening the reins in response to the recent commodity price rout.

As usual, there is a huge amount of information packed into Monday's press release, but I will try to hit upon most of the key developments, and draw out some implications for both Chesapeake and the rest of the industry.

Front and center is the drawdown in drilling -- $3.2 billion worth through 2010. That's a significant amount, but it's important to recognize that fully 40% of that figure stems from the "capex carry" associated with two major joint ventures -- one executed, and one pending.

One deal with BP (NYSE:BP) has been consummated in the Fayetteville shale, and sees BP covering the first $800 million of Chesapeake's share of the spending. Chesapeake is now actively seeking to strike a similar arrangement in the Marcellus shale. The suitor is expected to be a major like BP, rather than another independent like Haynesville partner Plains Exploration & Production (NYSE:PXP). We've already caught ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) sniffing around the Marcellus, but there are plenty of other global players eager to get into the shale game. Considering the probable wealth of targets throughout Latin America, I certainly wouldn't rule out Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) as a potential partner.

The other 60% of Chesapeake's projected drawdown cut comes out of internally funded drilling. The curtailment doesn't look nearly as drastic when you consider that Chesapeake is mainly dropping more marginal targets in favor of sweet-spot stuff like the Haynesville. Greater productivity of the latter wells can go a long way toward minimizing the production drop-off.

Chesapeake's move here -- beyond the positive impact it will have on the company's own balance sheet -- may be just as important for the message that it sends to both peer companies and the broader market. For peers like Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and XTO Energy (NYSE:XTO), the message is clear: We're showing discipline, and it's time to follow our lead. As an extension, a rational industry-supply response will make it plain to observers that there's a floor not too far below today's natural gas prices.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Chesapeake is an Inside Value selection. Petrobras is an Income Investor pick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.