Chesapeake shares rose the most since February.

(Bloomberg) — Chesapeake Energy Corp. shares rose the most since February after board member Archie Dunham, former chief executive of ConocoPhillips’ predecessor company, bought more than $4 million in additional stock.

Dunham purchased 2.1 million shares Dec. 21, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, nearly doubling his position this month to more than 1 percent of the company.

The company’s shares have fallen 36 percent since the end of November, cutting its market capitalization to $1.9 billion. Despite a recent surge in natural gas prices, the whole sector has felt the weight of falling crude prices and the broader equities rout. Chesapeake is in the midst of a strategy change, focusing more on oil production to become less reliant on gas. It agreed to buy WildHorse Resource Development Corp., a crude driller in Texas and Louisiana, in October for $2.27 billion.

Dunham is the former chief executive officer of Conoco Inc., the predecessor to ConocoPhillips. He was appointed non-executive chairman of Chesapeake in 2012 over concerns about the company’s debt and spending under then-CEO and co-founder Aubrey McClendon. Together, Dunham and Chesapeake Chairman R. Brad Martin have bought shares several times in December.

Gordon Pennoyer, a spokesman for Chesapeake, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. The driller rose 29 cents to $2.02 a share at 12:14 p.m. in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Collins in Houston at rcollins74@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net Christine Buurma.





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