I'm selective about tuning into company conference calls. But since Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) seems almost as much about spirit as the numbers in an earnings release, I wouldn't miss one of that company's calls for anything.

Having said that, let me hit a few of Chesapeake's key June quarter metrics: Net income for the period was $492 million, up 48% from last year's $332 million. If you're inclined to back out one-time items, such as gains on property sales (which I believe are a key part of operating an oil and gas company), the earnings on lower gas prices were $342 million, vs. $340 million. Per-share diluted earnings were $1.01, vs. last year's $0.82.

But perhaps an even more telling metric for this Oklahoma City-based independent is its having just become the third-largest natural gas producer in the U.S., trailing only major integrated companies BP (NYSE:BP) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP). In this arena, the company even stands ahead of energy titan ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM). Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake's chairman and CEO, told analysts on the company's call, " ... It seems inevitable that sometime in 2008, Chesapeake will become the largest U.S. producer of natural gas."

McClendon also called the Fort Worth Barnett Shale "our most important growth area." The company entered the play in 2004, and now has more than 190,000 net Barnett acres in its inventory, including its 18,000 acres in the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the largest contiguous position in the Barnett. Chesapeake's activity has taken off at DFW to the extent that its five working rigs there have finished drilling 12 wells, and McClendon is "hopeful that these DFW airport wells will redefine what a monster well is in the Barnett."

Overall, while production rates are sliding at many other oil and gas companies, Chesapeake expects its output to grow 18%-22% this year and 14%-18% in 2008. The latter projection is up from the previous 10%-14% forecast.

So, Chesapeake is a company that is definitely on the go. Indeed, its management appears so adept at conducting all aspects of the company's business that it's even capable of putting on a worthwhile post-release conference call.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He welcomes your questions or comments. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.