OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) on May 8 reported a first-quarter loss of $21 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.

"We continue to execute on our strategic priorities and once again delivered strong financial and operational results,” said Doug Lawler, Chesapeake's president and CEO. “The encouraging early results from our Brazos Valley business unit, which we now project will be cash flow positive at the asset operating level in 2019, demonstrates our capability to apply our capital and operating efficiency to immediately transform a new asset in our portfolio. We believe we will see significantly more savings in the year ahead as we fully integrate our Brazos Valley operations into Chesapeake. With our transformational oil growth and capital efficiency continuing to improve, our confidence is strong as we drive towards achieving our strategic priorities of meaningful margin enhancement, sustainable free cash flow and a net debt to EBITDAX ratio of two times."

Chesapeake acquired Houston-based oil producer WildHorse Resource for nearly $4 billion in February. The acquisition gave the company greater access to Eagle Ford acerage and also added to its outstanding debt which increased to $9.98 billion at the end of the first quarter.

On a per-share basis, the Oklahoma City-based company said it had a loss of 3 cents. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 14 cents per share.

The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 15 cents per share.

The natural gas company posted revenue of $2.2 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $929 million, also falling short of Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.09 billion.

The company's shares closed at $2.79. A year ago, they were trading at $3.13.

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This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on CHK at https://www.zacks.com/ap/CHK

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