Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second-largest producer in the Barnett Shale, said fourth-quarter profit fell to $300 million in the last three months of 2012 after it made a bad bet on the price of natural gas.The Oklahoma-City based firm said it has trimmed its capital spending and repeatedly emphasized to financial analysts during a conference call Thursday that it was focused on paying down debt. But it still projects a $4 billion shortfall in its spending versus income this year, and said it plans to sell between $4 billion and $7 billion worth of properties in 2013 to bridge that gap.Outgoing CEO Aubrey McClendon did not participate in the scheduled call, which came just a day after Chesapeake said its internal investigation cleared him of any intentional misconduct regarding his personal finances. He has agreed to resign effective April 1 or when the company's board names a successor.Company executives told analysts they had nothing to report regarding a new CEO.Chesapeake's revenues in the year's fourth quarter were up smartly, as crude oil production jumped 69 percent and gas edged up 3 percent. But a misstep using hedges on the price of its natural gas sales blunted the gain.While gas prices on the futures market rose during the quarter to an average $3.54 per million Btu, Chesapeake only averaged $2.07 on its gas sales, with 75 percent of its production locked in at below-market rates. One million Btu is roughly equivalent to 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas.For 2013, Chesapeake said, it has hedged 50 percent of projected gas production at an average $3.62 per million Btu. It also has hedging contracts on 85 percent of its expected oil production at an average $95.45 a barrel.After adjusting for unusual items, the company earned 26 cents a share, compared to analysts' consensus estimate of 14 cents. Still, its shares (ticker: CHK) slid a nickel to $20.19 Thursday in active trading.Chesapeake's stock price is down 18 percent in the past 12 months, hurt not just by low gas prices but also the uncertainty raised by McClendon's dealings. The 53-year-old McClendon's empire began to crumble in March and April last year amid revelations that he'd used personal stakes in thousands of company-owned wells as collateral for more than $800 million in private loans.The company's shares fell to as low as $13.32 in the wake of those developments, but have rallied since.McClendon was stripped of the chairmanship in June at the behest of Chesapeake's largest investors, Southeastern Asset Management Inc. and billionaire Carl Icahn.On Jan. 29, McClendon agreed to retire from the company he co-founded in 1989.Staff writer Jim Fuquay contributed to this report, which contains material from Bloomberg News.