The Incredible, Shrinking Aubrey McClendon
The ongoing debacle of Chesapeake Energy, and its chief executive Aubrey McClendon, continues.
Staggering under high debt, Chesapeake Energy said Wednesday that it would sell $6.9 billion of gas fields and pipelines — another step in shrinking the company whose brash chief executive had made it a leader in the country’s shale gas revolution.
A combination of low natural gas prices and excessive borrowing has forced Chesapeake Energy chief executive Aubrey K. McClendon to move more of its focus away from gas and to sell off much of the vast holdings that had at one point made the Oklahoma-based company one of the nation’s top natural gas producers.
Remember, this is the same guy Rolling Stone pilloried in its superb article, “The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind Aubrey McClendon’s Gas Boom” (March 1, 2012). Among other things, the Rolling Stone article concluded that McClendon’s goal was “not to solve America’s energy problems, but to build a pipeline directly from your wallet into his.”
Now we see how McClendon’s plan has been working out: his wallet shrinking fast, as he skedaddles away from what Rolling Stone called a “Ponzi scheme, overhyping the promise of shale gas in an effort to recoup their huge investments in leases and drilling.” And speaking of Ponzi schemes, the Washington Post reports that “Chesapeake warned [last month] that it might write down the size and value of its natural gas reserves because low prices made some of those uneconomic.” Does this sound like a brilliant business model to you?