Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK -7.28% filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday as an oil- and gas-price rout stoked by the coronavirus pandemic proved to be the ultimate blow for a shale-drilling pioneer lengthy hamstrung by debt.
Chesapeake is the newest debt-laden U.S. oil and gasoline producer to file for chapter, as a coronavirus-induced financial slowdown saps demand for fossil fuels. Greater than 200 shale corporations might file for chapter over the following two years if oil and gasoline costs keep round present ranges, analysts say.
Co-founded in 1989 by the late wildcatter Aubrey McClendon, the corporate was early to recognize that horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing may unlock huge troves of pure gasoline, a development that led to a rebirth of American fossil-fuel output and finally made the U.S. the highest oil producer on this planet.
By the top of 2008, the Oklahoma Metropolis-based firm had drilling rights to almost 15 million acres, in line with a securities submitting, an empire roughly the scale of West Virginia. That huge footprint as soon as helped Chesapeake earn the title of second-largest U.S. gasoline producer.