Chesapeake Energy CEO Doug Lawler. Image courtesy of Chesapeake/Youtube.

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy cut 15 percent of its workforce on Tuesday as its share price sank nearly 70 percent year over year.

According to Dow Jones Business News, the company laid off 740 employees, with about 560 of those cut positions based out of its head office in Oklahoma.

Chesapeake told the AP that laid off employees will receive up to one year’s salary depending on their pay level, how long they have worked at the company and their age.

In an email to employees, CEO Doug Lawler cited volatile commodity prices as the reason behind the cuts.

“As you are fully aware, the current commodity price environment continues to be a challenge for our industry and for Chesapeake. While this was extremely difficult, we are acting decisively and prudently to enhance the long-term competitiveness and strength of Chesapeake,” Lawler wrote.

The company said in a regulatory filing that it expects to take a $55.5 million charge in the third quarter tied to the layoffs, Dow Jones noted.

Chesapeake has been hit hard by last year’s oil price rout.

The company reported a second quarter net loss of $4.15 billion in August after taking a $5 billion impairment charge on its oil and natural gas properties.

Chesapeake suspended its annual dividend in July for the first time since 1998, just days after a U.S. federal court ordered it to pay bond investors $379.7 million for waiting too long to announce a bond redemption plan.

The company has also dealt with several legal disputes that resulted in a $119 million settlement with Oklahoma natural gas royalty owners in January and a $25 million settlement to lease holders in Michigan.

Chesapeake slashed its projected 2015 operated rig count in March down to 25 to 35 rigs, a 55 percent drop from an average of 64 rigs in 2014.

Shares of Chesapeake were trading at $6.79 per share before the opening bell, a 71 percent dive since last year.

The company now has a market capitalization of less than $5 billion, Dow Jones noted.


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