Chesapeake and other companies have developed the new drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing. The method unlocks huge deposits of oil and natural gas trapped in dense rocks called shale.
Chesapeake has raised the billions of dollars it needed to buy drilling rights across the country. The company issued shares, borrowed money and sold stakes in its fields to companies from the U.K., Norway, France and China. The strategy turned the company into the second-biggest producer of natural gas in the U.S., after Exxon Mobil Corp. (WSJ, 2/14/2011)