(Adds company comment, updates share price)
HOUSTON Oct 13 Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N),
which recently cut its drilling budget by more than $3 billion,
has canceled the development of an online television show aimed
at educating landowners on urban drilling in north Texas.
"Given today's economic challenges faced by our country and
industry, it is the right decision as we focus our time and
resources on exploration and production activities,"
spokeswoman Jerri Robbins said in an e-mail on Monday.
The program, called Shale.TV, was part of the natural gas
producer's efforts to raise its profile in the Barnett Shale
area, where it holds the rights to drill on thousands of acres
in and around Forth Worth.
Among its other public relations efforts, Chesapeake
produced a 30-minute video called "Citizens of the Shale" and
hired Oscar-winning actor and Texas native Tommy Lee Jones to
narrate the campaign.
Shale.TV was scheduled to be launched later this month.
Robbins, who declined to put a price tag on Shale.TV, said
most of the company's other outreach and advertising efforts
have wound down, but the company is running television
commercials on drilling and production.
Shares of Chesapeake, which had loaded up on debt to fund
an aggressive drilling program, were battered last week as
investors worried about the effect of tightening credit markets
and falling gas prices on the Oklahoma City company.
To shore up investor confidence, Chesapeake said on Friday
it would cut another $1.5 billion from its capital budget for
the next two years. That announcement came weeks after the
company cut its drilling budget through 2010 by $3.2 billion.
Even so, Chesapeake is expected to maintain sufficient
liquidity despite negative market sentiment, debt rating agency
Standard & Poor's said on Monday.
Shares of Chesapeake ended up 22 percent at $20.20 on the
New York Stock Exchange, in line with a 20 percent gain in
American Stock Exchange index of natural gas companies .XNG.
Since the start of the year, the stock has fallen about 50
percent, underperforming a 34 percent decline in the index of
(Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; Editing by Ted Kerr,