Chesapeake will drill almost exclusively for oil and natural gas liquids until U.S. natural gas prices improve, said McClendon.
The company is targeting net liquids production to average 130,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) this year, 170,000 bopd in 2013 and 250,000 bopd in 2015.
Chesapeake's liquids production growth is up 65 percent over the past year, or approx. 51,000 barrels per day, all from drilling. McClendon said the shift would lead to higher returns on invested capital, lower capital expenditures and a more streamlined company.
The company will increase the number of rigs it has drilling in the Niobrara play in the Powder River Basin from eight rigs to 11 by the end of this year. Chesapeake's previous Niobrara drilling activity in the Denver-Julesberg Basin did not work, but the company has had more success with the Niobrara in Powder River, McClendon told conference attendees.