HOUSTON — On April 2, 2013, one day after stepping down as president and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), Aubrey McClendon was already at work at his new company, American Energy Partners LP.
McClendon, who spoke to A&D professionals at the ADAM-Houston May 16, said he chose the company’s name because he was proud of the work the nation has done in the energy field — and because he wanted to telegraph that he would need partners.
Partners he got, but he’s after more.
In the past nine months, McClendon had raised a breathtaking $8.5 billion of institutional capital, started five companies and acquired production of 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day on 600,000 net acres. The parent company has grown to 325 from 16 employees, with about 30 new people joining every month.
McClendon is also forming a company that will allow investments by third-party broker dealer networks called American Energy Capital Partners LP, with $2-$3 billion capital raised.
Asked by Hart Energy if his high-profile status has opened doors to his raising capital, McClendon drew laughs by saying that during his time with Chesapeake he was caught in a “journalist drive-by shooting. My problem was I was in a cul-de-sac.”
Ultimately, he said his backers are people who “respected what I tried to stand up for and build over the last 30 years. It’s a lot of fun to be back out there.”
McClendon deflected a question about published reports that one of his companies may be attempting to buy Enduring Resources LLC. Enduring has been trying to sell its Midland and Delaware Basin holdings for an estimated $2 billion.
However, McClendon said two new companies will focus in the Permian and the Marcellus and that they have raised $4 billion in capital.
“We have two transactions under contract that haven’t been announced yet or detailed,” McClendon said. “Those combined are around $4 billion and should close by end of the summer.”
McClendon used his appearance not just to talk up his various ventures, but to make a pitch for land and talent.
In discussing his companies in various plays, he told the audience he would be interest in speaking to anyone about potential deals.
“I need deals and I need people, and that’s a part of my presentation today,” he said.
McClendon said he has set out a strategy using multiple companies to stage around a particular play, basin or strategy. Since the market values play-focused companies more, he plans to take his companies public in the next several years.
AEP Institutionally Funded Opportunities
American Energy – Utica
American Energy – Utica Minerals
American Energy – Woodford
American Energy – Woodford Minerals
American Energy NonOp
American Energy – Marcellus/Permian
In discussing the creation of the public companies, McClendon made light of his departure from Chesapeake, saying he had served as CEO of a public company for 20 years and enjoyed “it for 19 of those.”
But he couldn’t resist another pitch to the crowd: “If you’ve ever fancied yourself a public company CEO, we’ll be I the market. Let me know.”