NEW YORK (AP) — Chesapeake Energy, a shale drilling pioneer that helped to turn the United States into a global energy powerhouse, has filed for bankruptcy protection. 

The Oklahoma City-based company said Sunday that it was a necessary decision given its debt. Its debt load is currently nearing $9 billion. It has entered a plan with lenders to cut $7 billion of its debt and said it will continue to operate as usual during the bankruptcy process. 

Chesapeake Energy

Chesapeake Energy, which has warned that it’s unsure if it can survive much longer, failed to make $13.5 million in interest payments that came due this week, according to a federal filing.

The pioneering energy company grew to become one of the largest natural gas producers in the U.S., but it’s racked up nearly $9 billion in debt. The Oklahoma City driller warned in May that “there is substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern” with natural gas losing about a quarter of its value this year alone.

NEW YORK (AP) — Chesapeake Energy Corp. says the federal government is investigating whether there were antitrust violations relating to its purchase of some oil and gas land in Michigan.

The stock lost 3 percent in morning trading Friday.

The Oklahoma City-based company said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that it was subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice to hand over paperwork related to those purchases. Chesapeake says it has also received demands for documents and information from state government agencies.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge will decide a motion filed by a group of Chesapeake Energy Corp. shareholders who want to delay the company's annual shareholders' meeting.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the request Tuesday. Chesapeake's shareholder's meeting is set for Friday.