Aubrey McClendon, the pioneering shale wildcatter who helped usher in the U.S. energy renaissance, has hired the company that fired him to drill wells for his newest natural gas venture.
A subsidiary of McClendon’s American Energy Partners LP is paying between $23,500 and $26,000 a day to rent seven rigs from Chesapeake Energy Corp., the Oklahoma City-based gas producer he co-founded a quarter century ago, according to a proxy filing today.
Chesapeake, which terminated McClendon last year amid a shareholder revolt, signed the six-month agreements in October, according to the filing. Chesapeake’s rigs are drilling for American Energy-Utica LLC in the Utica shale formation that stretches beneath much of Ohio.
McClendon, 54, was forced out of Chesapeake by a group of activist shareholders that included billionaire Carl Icahn and O. Mason Hawkins amid investor discontent over management missteps and controversy over McClendon’s use of personal stakes in company-operated wells to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars.