Commodities & Metals

Former Chesapeake Energy CEO’s New Company on the Prowl

Paul Ausick

You can’t keep a good landman down — and there probably never has been a more successful landman than Aubrey McClendon, founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK). Since being fired as the company’s CEO in April, McClendon has ginned up his own company

, American Energy Partners LP, and reportedly raised a stake of $1 billion to go out shopping for new properties.

A report at Upstream Online claims that McClendon’s new company has put in the highest bid for 50,000 acres in Ohio’s Utica shale play that Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) is selling. The acreage is fragmented and is said to be part of a still unproven oil play in the region.

McClendon also is believed by some to have acquired 22,500 acres from Enervest and its affiliate EV Energy Partners L.P. (NASDAQ: EVEP) for more than $280 million.

McClendon’s new company looks as if it plans to follow the model he put together for Chesapeake: identify a likely prospect; buy up some leasing rights; prove that the prospect is economic; buy up all the leasing rights you can amass; sell off a stake in the prospects for a tidy profit. It is a proven winner.

Chesapeake under McClendon generally is credited with the discovery of the Utica shale play, where the company put together vast holdings before selling a 25% stake to France’s Total S.A. (NYSE: TOT) for $2.3 billion in January of 2012.