Chesapeake Energy will be on budget this year -CEO

HOUSTON, April 1 Mon Apr 1, 2013 9:40am EDT

HOUSTON, April 1 (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp is on track to make its budget for the year, Steve Dixon, the company's newly appointed interim chief executive officer, said on Monday.

Dixon, seeking to reassure investors following the departure of CEO Aubrey McClendon, said on a conference call that he had "tremendous confidence" that Chesapeake's spending would not exceed the company's planned drilling budget of about $6 billion.

Chesapeake, which has pledged to sell up to $7 billion in oil and gas properties this year, has so far sold or signed deals totaling $1.5 billion, Dixon said.

On Friday, Chesapeake announced Dixon's appointment as interim CEO and said he was part of a three-person team to lead the second-largest U.S. producer of natural gas as it continues its search for a permanent replacement for McClendon.

McClendon's departure was announced in late January, following a governance crisis and a liquidity crunch caused by heavy spending on oil and gas acreage and a collapse in the price of natural gas.

Shares of Chesapeake were up 0.6 percent at $20.54 in early New York Stock Exchange trading.

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