That didn’t take long. Co-founder of and former Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) CEO and chairman Aubrey McClendon is back in the oil & gas business. McClendon’s last day at Chesapeake was April 1st, after he was forced to resign following a series of revelations about the way he ran the country’s second-largest producer of natural gas.
McClendon’s new company is American Energy Partners LP and it shares a suite of offices just down the street from his old digs with two other firms: McClendon Energy Partners and Arcadia Capital, according to a report in The Oklahoman newspaper. The paper says it obtained a copy of an email from McClendon to “multiple people” announcing the creation of his new company.
In the email, McClendon said that American Energy Partners wants to acquire onshore assets in the U.S.:
My goal is to build a substantial E&P (exploration and production) company both through the drillbit and through acquisitions of producing properties. In particular, I will be looking for deals with a lot of drilling left on them and will also consider undeveloped acreage deals — plus, I am not scared of natural gas.
With natural gas prices rising, perhaps McClendon is on to something. A former landman himself, McClendon’s strength has always been in acquiring properties and then essentially flipping them once the natural gas reserves were confirmed. Whether or not he can play that game again is arguable — there are a lot more players now than there were 20 or so years ago when Chesapeake was founded. McClendon may not be scared of natural gas, but is the natural gas industry afraid of him? Or has it passed beyond his favored business model?