Photo credit: Apache. 

LINN Energy (LINEQ) seems to have finally realized that the weapons in its current arsenal simply couldn't combat its biggest foe. And while most investors probably think I'm talking about short-sellers or the financial media, this foe is actually the company's struggles to overcome its decline rate. This is what has given fuel to the fire set by those negative on LINN Energy, without which they wouldn't have much to back up their arguments.

LINN Energy's decline rate probably isn't something most investors even know exists, though the company has mentioned it in nearly every acquisition it has made over the past few years. Now we are seeing the company put greater focus on reducing the overall decline rate of its portfolio by reshaping that portfolio. This is why the company recently decided to exit its position in the Granite Wash and Cleveland plays and replace that production with Devon Energy's (DVN -0.17%) low-decline natural-gas assets.

The following slideshow is intended to help investors better grasp the overall picture of the problem with decline rates. It details Devon Energy's decline rates in the Permian Basin, as well as what Apache (APA -0.54%) experiences in the Granite Wash and Cleveland plays. Those are compared to the type of decline rates LINN Energy wants in its portfolio.