Chesapeake Energy beats profit estimates, to cut rig count


* 2nd-qtr adj earnings/shr $0.18 vs est $0.14/shr
    * 2nd-qtr total revenue up 41 pct at $2.28 billion
    * To operate 14 rigs by year-end

 (Adds details, CEO comments; Updates shares)
    Aug 3 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas producer Chesapeake
Energy Corp <CHK.N> reported a better-than-expected quarterly
profit on Thursday and said it expects production to rise for
the rest of the year even as the company plans to operate fewer
    Shares of the company were up 4 percent in premarket
    Oil and gas producers in North America are actively trying
to cut back on expenses as they try to save money as oil hovers
around $50 per barrel.
    Last month, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co
<HAL.N> warned growth in North American rig count was "showing
signs of plateauing". [nL3N1KF3TH]
    Chesapeake said it would operate 14 rigs by the end of 2017
down from the 18 rigs its currently runs. The company also said
it expected total production to rise, driven by projects in the
Eagle Ford, Utica and Powder River basins.
    "We are actively managing our 2017 capital program to the
highest return on investments in our portfolio, or reducing
spending in certain areas altogether," CEO Doug Lawler said on
    U.S. energy companies added 10 rigs in July, the fewest in
any month since May 2016. Oil prices have fallen 7.3 percent so
far this year, slowing the pace of a 14-month drilling recovery.
    Chesapeake on Thursday said it produced about 88,400
barrels of oil per day, up 6 percent from the preceding quarter.
    Excluding items, the company earned 18 cents per share in
the reported quarter, higher than analysts' expectation of 14
cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
    Total revenue at the Oklahoma-based company jumped 41
percent to $2.28 billion.
    Shares of the company were trading at $4.80 before the
markets opened.

 (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Nivedita Bhattacharjee
in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)
 ((; within U.S. +1 646
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