McClendon gets $1.7B in financing for shale play

A group of private equity firms is backing former Chesapeake Energy chief Aubrey McClendon in his new exploration and production venture in the Utica Shale in Ohio with $1.7 billion in financial commitments.

A Utica-focused subsidiary of McClendon’s new American Energy Partners LP plans to lease and drill 110,000 net acres in the southern region of the eastern Ohio shale play, starting with one rig in the fourth quarter. Over the next two to three years, American Energy wants to increase its rig count to at least 12, the Oklahoma City-based firm said Wednesday.

Financial fallout: New job cuts slash Chesapeake Energy’s payroll

The bulk of the new equity comes from The Energy & Minerals Group in Houston, but First Reserve and GSO Capital Partners, both of which have offices in Houston, boosted the young producer, as well. The sum also includes debt from Magnetar Capital and others.

Jumping back into unconventional drilling, McClendon started American Energy in April after departing from the Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake. His exit from the oil and gas producer followed months of controversy surrounding perks he had received and shareholder pressure to shore up the balance sheet.

American Energy said it will be on the prowl for more acreage in the Utica to acquire and develop.

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