Contractor to Chesapeake: pay up

Sunday’s column, available on houstonchronicle.com:

In the past year, embattled Chesapeake Energy has faced the ire of investors, a boardroom shake-up and revelations of accounting issues that, combined with weak prices for natural gas, have undermined the company’s stock price.

But the troubles of the country’s second-biggest natural gas producer after Exxon Mobil have also taken their toll on a less visible side of the company’s operations.

In western New York State, where Chesapeake has been using hydraulic fracturing to unleash new natural gas reserves from the Marcellus Shale formation, contractors have had a harder time getting paid as Chesapeake’s financial problems mounted, said Charlie Joyce, who sued the company last year for unpaid bills.