OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Chesapeake Energy said on Monday that it will sell a 50 percent stake in oil and natural gas-rich land in Oklahoma to Chinese oil company Sinopec for $1.02 billion as the natural gas producer continues selling off assets to repay debt.
Chesapeake is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. after Exxon Mobil. Hurt by low natural gas prices, it has sold off billions in assets to pay off debt incurred as it rushed to buy land and other assets. It's also increasingly focused on more lucrative oil and gas liquids.
The company posted a $940 million loss last year because of a big charge to write down the value of its natural gas-producing property.
The deal with Sinopec "moves us further along in achieving our asset sales goals and secures an excellent partner to share the capital costs required to actively develop this very large, liquids-rich resource play," said Steven Dixon, Chesapeake's chief operating officer.
The company is aiming for $4 billion to $7 billion in asset sales this year.
For Sinopec, the biggest refiner in Asia, investing with Chesapeake gives it a bigger foothold in North America. It and other state-owned companies have been expanding in recent years with acquisitions outside of Asia as they seek access to resources needed to fuel their economies.
Canadian and U.S. authorities recently approved the acquisition of Canada's Nexen Inc. by China's CNOOC for $15.1 billion. China's state-owned PetroChina in December announced that it was paying $2.21 billion for a 49.9 percent stake in acreage in Alberta controlled by Canada's Encana Corp.