- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Chesapeake Energy Corp. has announced plans to increase its drilling budget and rig count in 2017, saying that confidence is growing in the hard-hit energy market.

The Oklahoma City-based company said Tuesday that it would increase its capital expenditures to $1.9 billion to $2.5 billion this year. That’s compared to 2016 numbers of $1.65 billion to $1.75 billion.

Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler said in a statement that the move will “position Chesapeake for significant production and earnings growth” in 2018. Chesapeake says it plans to operate an average of 17 rigs in 2017, compared to an average of 10 rigs in 2016.

The company will release its fourth-quarter earnings report on Feb. 23. In November, Chesapeake reported a loss of $1.16 billion, or $1.54 per share, in its third-quarter results.

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