Chesapeake Energy Corp has put 504,000 acres in the DJ Basin in Wyoming and Colorado up for sale, as the U.S. energy company scrambles to raise cash to close a $9 billion to $10 billion funding shortfall.
Chesapeake, which earlier this month arranged a pricey $4 billion loan from its investment bankers to tide it over, has said it will sell as much as $11 billion in assets this year.
The DJ Basin deal includes oil and gas production from 29 wells that the company operates and Chesapeake's interest in 24 non-operated wells, according to a prospectus on the assets.
Part of the acreage is in the Niobrara shale, an area the company's Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon characterized as disappointing in February.
Mark Hanson, an oil and gas analyst with Morningstar, said it makes sense for the company to sell acreage that wasn't working for it, but it also underscores Chesapeake's need for cash.
Chesapeake, the nation's second-largest gas producer behind Exxon Mobil Corp and for years one of the most active gas drillers, sold off a third of its 800,000 acres to China's CNOOC Ltd for nearly $1.3 billion in 2011.
Chesapeake did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the deal. Bids for the acreage are due on June 28, according to the prospectus.
The company's 2012 funding shortfall comes as natural gas prices are the lowest in a decade.
Chesapeake has already announced that it is looking to sell its 1.5 million acres of lease holdings in the oil-rich Permian basin as well as find a joint venture partner in another liquids-rich region, the Mississippi Lime basin, in order to raise cash.
Analysts and investors have also called for change at the company after Reuters reported that McClendon had taken out more than $1 billion in loans using his interest in thousands of company wells as collateral.
McClendon's personal lender, EIG Global Energy Partners, is also a big source a funding for Chesapeake, a situation that may cause conflicts of interest, according to academics and analysts.
Chesapeake shares were down 1.6 percent at $14.84 on Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.
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