Chesapeake Energy is on course to spend less on capital projects during the current quarter than previously planned, acting CEO Steven C. Dixon told financial analysts Monday.Dixon was named interim CEO on Friday after the departure of Chesapeake co-founder Aubrey McClendon, who had agreed to leave the Oklahoma City-based producer by Monday. During a conference call, Dixon told analysts that the company's 2013 capital budget is unchanged at $5.75 billion to $6.25 billion.Chesapeake's shares (ticker: CHK) responded little to the moves, slipping just 0.3 percent to $20.35 in below-average trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock is up 22 percent this year, erasing almost all of 2012's 25 percent decline, but remains far below its peak of more than $66 in June 2008.The second-largest U.S. natural gas explorer is shifting its focus to pumping oil.Dixon is one of McClendon's longest-serving lieutenants. He was previously chief operating officer.Dixon will be part of a three-person office of the chairman while the company's board continues the search for a permanent CEO, the company said Friday. The new office includes Dixon, Chairman Archie Dunham and Chief Financial Officer Domenic Dell'Osso.McClendon, 53, agreed in January to resign after a shareholder revolt by Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management's O. Mason Hawkins cost the CEO his annual bonus and the chairmanship last year. A board inquiry into McClendon's use of personal stakes in company-owned wells to obtain more than $800 million in private loans cleared him of any intentional wrongdoing in February.Dixon, 54, is a University of Kansas-trained geologist who joined Chesapeake in 1991, two years after the company's founding, as vice president of exploration. He has been COO since 2006, a role he will continue to perform, according to the statement."Steve has full authority to lead our company and will ensure that Chesapeake maintains its culture of excellence, hard work and agility," Dunham said in an email to employees on March 29. Dixon "has the reins and he knows the path forward."Directors are working with Chicago-based executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles International to find a permanent CEO, according to the statement. Dixon's appointment as acting CEO was effective on March 29, Michael Kehs, a company spokesman, said in an emailed statement.Among Chesapeake's top executives, only Thomas S. Price, senior vice president of corporate development, has a longer association with the company than Dixon. Price began working as a consultant for the company its first year and joined full time in 1992.McClendon has promoted gas as an alternative to coal and Middle Eastern oil imports. Using cutting-edge drilling techniques in domestic shale formations overlooked by international energy giants, he built Chesapeake into what was at one time the largest U.S. gas producer.McClendon oversaw a 500-fold increase in Chesapeake's market value from its 1993 debut as a public company to a peak of $35.6 billion in June 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Since then, stung by cratering gas prices and growing investor mistrust, the company's value has fallen by more than half to about $13.6 billion.Chesapeake agreed to sell $12 billion in pipelines, oil fields and other assets in 2012, short of McClendon's original sales target, as a cash flow shortfall threatened to derail drilling plans and erode the company's compliance with lending covenants.Dixon and the next CEO inherit a $4 billion to $7 billion asset-sales target for this year. They will try to continue Chesapeake's transition from focusing on natural gas to focusing on crude oil and gas liquids, such as propane.In a related development on Monday, McClendon give a deposition as part of a legal battle between the company and indenture trustee Bank of New York Mellon Corp. over the redemption of bonds.Chesapeake and BNY Mellon go to trial April 23 over the producer's disputed claim that it met a deadline to redeem $1.3 billion in bonds early at par, or 100 cents on the dollar.