Chesapeake Energy

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Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Public
Traded as
IndustryPetroleum industry
Founded1989; 29 years ago (1989)
FounderAubrey McClendon
Tom L. Ward
HeadquartersOklahoma City
Key people
R. Brad Martin, Chairman
Robert Douglas Lawler, CEO
Domenic J. Dell'Osso, Jr., CFO
ProductsPetroleum
Natural gas
Production output
548 thousand barrels of oil equivalent (3,350,000 GJ) per day (2017)
RevenueIncrease $9.496 billion (2017)
Increase $0.813 billion (2017)
Total assetsDecrease $12.425 billion (2017)
Total equityDecrease -$0.372 billion (2017)
Number of employees
2,900 (2018)
Websitechk.com
Footnotes / references
[1]

Chesapeake Energy Corporation is an American petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company headquartered in Oklahoma City. The company is named after the founder's love for the Chesapeake Bay region.

Operations[edit]

Production[1][edit]

Formation % of 2017 Production
Marcellus Formation 25%
Haynesville Shale 24%
Eagle Ford 18%
Utica Shale 19%
Anadarko Basin 10%
Powder River Basin 3%
Total 100%

In 2017, the company produced 548 thousand barrels of oil equivalent (3,350,000 GJ) per day, of which 73% was natural gas, 16% was petroleum, and 11% was natural gas liquids.[1]

As of December 31, 2017, the company had 1.912 billion barrels of oil equivalent (1.170×1010 GJ) of estimated proved reserves, of which 75% was natural gas, 14% was petroleum, and 11% was natural gas liquids.[1]

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1989 by Aubrey McClendon and Tom L. Ward with a $50,000 initial investment. McClendon named the company due to his love of the Chesapeake Bay region.[2] Ward left the company in 2006 to establish SandRidge Energy.

In 1993, the company became a public company via an initial public offering, valuing the company at $25 million.[3]

Focusing on a strategy of drilling horizontal natural gas wells in unconventional reservoirs, the company built a sizable position in the Golden Trend and Sholem Alechem fields of South-central Oklahoma and in the Giddings field of Southeast Texas.[4]

In the mid-1990s, the company attempted to extend the Austin Chalk play into western and central Louisiana but struggled to do so.[5]

In 1997, the company wrote down the value of its assets by over $200 million (approximately equal to shareholder's equity at the time) due to low commodity prices and implemented a turnaround plan.[6]

In the early 2000s, after a rise in natural gas prices made it economically feasible, the company focused on unconventional drilling in carbonates, tight sandstone, and shale particularly in the Barnett Shale, Fayetteville Shale, and the Marcellus Formation.[4]

In 2006, the company was added to the S&P 500 Index.[7]

In 2008, the company announced its discovery of the Haynesville Shale in East Texas and northwestern Louisiana.[8]

In 2009, the company celebrated its 20th anniversary by partnering with Orange County Choppers to create the world’s first chopper powered by compressed natural gas.[9]

In June 2012, in response to shareholder concerns about corporate governance issues under McClendon's watch, the company appointed Archie W. Dunham as chairman, while Aubrey McClendon remained CEO.[10]

In December 2012, the company sold midstream assets for $2.16 billion.[11]

Effective April 1, 2013, Aubrey McClendon was forced to leave the company after revelations that he took a personal stake in Chesapeake wells and then used those investments as collateral for up to $1.1 billion in loans from banks that also financed the company.[12][13]

In May 2013, Robert Douglas Lawler, an executive of Anadarko Petroleum, was named CEO of the company.[14]

In 2013, Chesapeake sold 55,000 net acres in the Northern Eagle Ford Shale and 9,600 net acres in the Haynesville Shale to EXCO for aggregate proceeds of $1 billion.[15]

In December 2014, Chesapeake sold a large portion of its oil and gas assets in the Marcellus Formation and Utica Shale to Southwestern Energy for net proceeds of $4.975 billion. The transaction included approximately 413,000 net acres and 1,500 wells in northern West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania. Net production of the sold assets was 57,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in December 2014.[16]

In 2014, the company also sold additional midstream assets for $520 million.[17]

In September 2015, the company announced layoffs of hundreds of people in Oklahoma City.[18]

On March 2, 2016, former CEO and co-founder Aubrey McClendon died in a single-occupant single-vehicle crash when he drove his vehicle straight into a concrete bridge embankment in Oklahoma City.[19][20] It occurred the day after a United States Department of Justice federal grand jury indicted McClendon for violating antitrust laws during his leadership at Chesapeake.[19]

In 2017, the company sold assets in the Haynesville shale for $465 million.[21]

In January 2018, the company laid off 400 employees.[22]

In the first quarter of 2018, the company sold assets in Oklahoma for $500 million.[23]

In October 2018, the company agreed to buy Texas oil producer WildHorse Resource Development Corp in a nearly $4 billion cash-and-stock deal that knocked down the natural gas producer’s shares by more than 12 per cent.[24]

Controversies[edit]

Antitrust allegations[edit]

Alleged collusion with Encana[edit]

In mid-2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) began an investigation into whether Encana, Canada's largest natural gas company, "illegally colluded with Chesapeake Energy Corp to lower the price of Michigan exploration lands during a public land auction in May 2010." Encana's internal investigation determined in 2012 that it did not collude with Chesapeake.[25] The Federal investigation ended in 2014.[26]

Cancellation of leases[edit]

On June 5, 2014, the state of Michigan filed felony fraud and racketeering charges against Chesapeake Energy, alleging that the company canceled hundreds of land leases on false pretenses after it sought to obtain oil and gas rights.[27] Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette claimed that the company "obtained uncompensated land options from these landowners by false pretenses, and prevented competitors from leasing the land." Chesapeake Energy disputed all charges.[28] In 2015, the company settled the lawsuits by agreeing to pay $25 million to the landowners.[13]

Underpayment of royalties to landowners[edit]

The company has faced thousands of lawsuits regarding the alleged under-payment of royalties due to individuals that rented land to the company.[29] In 2013, the company agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit by Pennsylvania landowners.[30] In 2017, the company agreed to pay another $30 million to Pennsylvania landowners.[31]

Alleged collusion in Oklahoma[edit]

On March 1, 2016, a DOJ federal grand jury indicted Aubrey McClendon for allegedly rigging the bidding process for land leases between December 2007 and March 2012.[13] McClendon was charged of orchestrating a conspiracy in which two oil and gas companies, not named in the indictment, colluded not to bid against each other for the purchase of land in northwestern Oklahoma.[19] According to the indictment, the companies decided ahead of time who would win bids, with the winner then allocating an interest in the leases to the other company, eliminating open competitive bidding.[32] The DOJ said this was the first case resulting from a continuing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging, and other anti-competitive conduct in the petroleum industry.

The next day, on March 2, 2016, McClendon died in a single-occupant single-vehicle crash when he drove his vehicle straight into a concrete bridge embankment.[19] The charges were dropped by the DOJ as a result of the death.[33]

Possible conflicts of interest by Ex-CEO Aubrey McClendon[edit]

  • McClendon nominated several of his friends, including long time childhood friends, to the board of the company and made them the highest-paid directors in the petroleum industry. In return, the board made McClendon the highest paid CEO of any company in the S&P 500 Index, awarding him a salary of $112 million.[34]
  • McClendon had the company develop a shopping center near the company's headquarters and lease space to restaurants part-owned by McClendon. The company used these restaurants for millions of dollars worth of catering business.[34]
  • McClendon and his family frequently used business jets owned by the company for personal reasons. McClendon has stated that this was allowed per his employment agreement.[34]
  • When McClendon needed money, he convinced the board to have the company purchase his collection of rare maps hanging in the company's offices for $12 million.[34]
  • An entire department at the company, known as "AKM Operations" was dedicated to working on personal projects of McClendon, including having his house fixed after a hail storm.[35]
  • The company signed an agreement to pay $3 million per year for the naming and branding rights to the Chesapeake Energy Arena, where the Oklahoma City Thunder play. The company also committed to buy $3 million worth of tickets per year. McClendon owned a 19% interest in the team.[35]
  • Since McClendon was a history major and loved history, he hired a company historian, who was paid a salary of over $100,000 per year.[35] He also hired the World's Strongest Man, who also received a salary of over $100,000 per year, to promote exercise among company staff.[35]
  • Through the Founders Well Participation Program, McClendon was able to purchase a 2.5% interest in every well the company drills. McClendon borrowed as much as $1.1 billion against his 2.5% stake in thousands of company wells from banks that were also lenders to the company.[36] After this potential conflict was made public, the company terminated the Founders Well Participation Program.[37] The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an informal inquiry of McClendon's borrowing practices.[38] However, no enforcement action was taken.[39]

Lobbying[edit]

In 2004, then CEO Aubrey McClendon contributed $450,000 to the campaign of Tom Corbett for attorney general of Pennsylvania. These funds were cited as the reason Corbett won the election, with a narrow margin. When Corbett eventually became governor of Pennsylvania, he was very supportive of Chesapeake's fracking activity in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania was the only state without a severance tax on drillers, despite the fact that the budget for education was being reduced.[40]

In 2008, then CEO Aubrey McClendon formed American Clean Skies Foundation, a non-profit foundation focused on selling the virtues of natural gas. The foundation was funded by the company and by McClendon. The foundation was criticized for doing nothing but pushing Congress to pass policies that benefited the company and McClendon's business interests.[41]

Environmental damage[edit]

Discharges of fill material[edit]

In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency levied a fine of $3.2 million on a subsidiary of the company and forced it to spend $6.5 million "to restore 27 sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands".[42]

2011 well blowout[edit]

On April 19, 2011, due to a failed seal assembly in a wellhead, the company lost control of a natural gas well in Bradford County, Pennsylvania that was being fracture stimulated, causing a large spill of salt water and hazardous chemicals, such as 2-butoxyethanol and methanol, into the surrounding countryside.[43][44][45] By April 22, 2011, the leak had been stemmed.[46] Maryland announced its intention to sue the company for violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Water Act since fracking fluids from the well blowout wound up in the Chesapeake Bay.[47]

2015 landslide[edit]

In November 2015, the company was fined $1.4 million in Pennsylvania for a landslide caused by the company in 2011 that resulted in clogged waterways.[48][49]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2007, the company was named the “Best Managed Oil-and-Gas Company” by Forbes.[50]

In 2009, S&P Global Platts named the company as the Energy Producer of the Year and it received the Industry Leadership Award. The company was also a finalist in the Deal of the Year, CEO of the Year, and Community Development Program of the Year categories.[51] In 2012, the company received an Award of Excellence.[52]

In 2010, Shaleplay, the company's corporate band, won first place in the Fortune Battle of the Corporate Bands.[53]

In 2014, the company was ranked 51st on the 100 Best Companies to Work by Fortune.[54]

Sponsorships[edit]

In 2011, Chesapeake Energy agreed to a 12-year naming rights partnership with the Oklahoma City Thunder for naming and branding rights of the Chesapeake Energy Arena at a cost of $3 million per year, with annual increases of 3%.[55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Chesapeake Energy 2017 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  2. ^ "The Rise and Fall of Wildcatter Aubrey McClendon". Roughneck City. March 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Goodell, Jeff (1 March 2012). "The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom". Rolling Stone.
  4. ^ a b Li, Xiaobing; Molina, Michael (October 14, 2014). Oil: A Cultural and Geographic Encyclopedia of Black Gold, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO.
  5. ^ "Chesapeake presses Louisiana Austin chalk pace". Oil & Gas Journal. August 12, 1996.
  6. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Announces Fiscal 1997 Results" (Press release). PR Newswire. August 28, 1997.
  7. ^ Wilmoth, Adam (March 1, 2006). "Chesapeake joining S&P 500". The Oklahoman.
  8. ^ Spencer, Starr (March 22, 2013). "On its fifth anniversary, the Haynesville Shale is still alive but natural gas output is sputtering". S&P Global Platts.
  9. ^ Zizzo, David (June 17, 2009). "Chesapeake CNG Chopper born to be wildly efficient". The Oklahoman.
  10. ^ Pulsinelli, Olivia (June 21, 2012). "Chesapeake names Archie Dunham chairman, appoints four to board". American City Business Journals.
  11. ^ "Chesapeake in $2 billion midstream deal". Reuters. December 11, 2012.
  12. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Announces CEO Succession Plan" (Press release). Business Wire. January 29, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Krauss, Clifford (March 1, 2016). "Aubrey McClendon, Ex-Head of Chesapeake Energy, Is Charged With Conspiracy". The New York Times.(subscription required)
  14. ^ Driver, Anna (May 20, 2013). "Chesapeake Energy hires Anadarko executive as CEO". Reuters.
  15. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Announces Sale of Northern Eagle Ford and Haynesville Shale Assets for Aggregate Proceeds of $1 Billion" (Press release). Business Wire. July 3, 2013.
  16. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Closes Southern Marcellus and Utica Shale Sale; Announes $1 billion Common Stock Repurchase Authorization" (Press release). Business Wire. December 22, 2014.
  17. ^ Novak, Stephanie (February 28, 2014). "Chesapeake to sell midstream assets". American City Business Journals.
  18. ^ TALLEY, TIM (September 29, 2015). "Chesapeake Energy lays off 740 workers companywide". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press.
  19. ^ a b c d "Energy titan Aubrey McClendon dies in single-car crash a day after being indicted". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. March 2, 2016.
  20. ^ GEEWAX, MARILYN; Domonoske, Camila (March 2, 2016). "One Day After Indictment, Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Dies In Car Crash". NPR.
  21. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Announces Agreement To Sell Second Haynesville Shale Acreage Position For $465 Million" (Press release). PR Newswire. December 20, 2016.
  22. ^ Wilmoth, Adam (January 30, 2018). "Chesapeake Energy lays off 400 employees". The Oklahoman.
  23. ^ Wilmoth, Adam (February 7, 2018). "Chesapeake Energy to sell Oklahoma assets for $500 million". The Oklahoman.
  24. ^ "Chesapeake shares fall on $4-billion WildHorse deal".
  25. ^ Grow, Brian; Schneyer, Joshua; Roberts, Janet (June 25, 2012). "Special Report: Chesapeake and rival plotted to suppress land prices". Reuters.
  26. ^ Grow, Brian (April 30, 2014). "Justice Department ends antitrust probe of Chesapeake deals". Reuters.
  27. ^ Harris, Andrew (June 5, 2014). "Chesapeake Energy Faces New Charges Over Michigan Leases". Bloomberg L.P.(subscription required)
  28. ^ Grow, Brian; Schneyer, Joshua (June 5, 2014). "Michigan AG charges Chesapeake with racketeering and fraud". Reuters.
  29. ^ BAKER, MAX B. (February 15, 2016). "Chesapeake seeks to move royalty lawsuits to Houston". Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  30. ^ CUSICK, MARIE (September 3, 2013). "Chesapeake Energy Agrees To Pay $7.5 Million To Settle Royalty Lawsuit". NPR.
  31. ^ MAYKUTH, ANDREW (December 26, 2017). "Chesapeake Energy agrees to pay $30M to settle shale royalty dispute, but there's a snag". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  32. ^ Olson, Bradley; Kendall, Brent; Ailworth, Erin (March 1, 2016). "Aubrey McClendon, former Chesapeake Energy CEO, indicted". The Wall Street Journal.(subscription required)
  33. ^ "Federal authorities seek to dismiss McClendon indictment after fatal crash". Chicago Tribune. March 3, 2016.
  34. ^ a b c d "The Greek tragedy of the billionaire who fracked up Pa". Philadelphia Media Network. March 3, 2016.
  35. ^ a b c d Shiffman, John; Driver, Anna; Grow, Brian (June 7, 2012). "The lavish and leveraged life of Aubrey McClendon". Reuters.
  36. ^ Lustgarten, Abrahm (March 13, 2014). "Chesapeake Energy's $5 Billion Shuffle". ProPublica.
  37. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation's Board and CEO Aubrey K. McClendon Agree to Negotiate Early Termination of Founder Well Participation Program" (Press release). Business Wire. April 26, 2012.
  38. ^ "Trouble With the Top Man". The New York Times. April 26, 2012.(subscription required)
  39. ^ Pramanick, Anannya (May 7, 2014). "SEC ends probe of Chesapeake, ex-CEO McClendon; no action planned". Reuters.
  40. ^ "PA Gov. Corbett Slashes Education and Health Care, Refuses To Tax Natural Gas Drilling". Think Progress. July 2, 2011.
  41. ^ Cappiello, Dina (April 24, 2008). "Aubrey McClendon's energy 'education' campaign". Environment & Energy Publishing.
  42. ^ "Energy Company to Pay $3.2 Million Penalty to Resolve Clean Water Violations in West Virginia" (Press release). United States Department of Justice. December 19, 2013.
  43. ^ Soraghan, Mike (May 4, 2011). "Pa. Well Blowout Tests Natural Gas Industry on Voluntary Fracking Disclosure". The New York Times.
  44. ^ Kusnetz, Nicholas (April 26, 2011). "Response to Pa. Gas Well Accident Took 13 Hours Despite State Plan for Quick Action". ProPublica.
  45. ^ "ATGAS Initial Site Characterization Report" (PDF). SAIC Energy. August 30, 2011.
  46. ^ McAllister, Edward (April 22, 2011). "Chesapeake stems flow from blown Pennsylvania gas well". Reuters.
  47. ^ Warner, Dave (May 4, 2011). "Maryland prepares lawsuit over PA gas drilling effect on water". Reuters.
  48. ^ Monies, Paul (November 24, 2015). "Chesapeake unit to pay $1.4 million fine in Pennsylvania". The Oklahoman.
  49. ^ "McKesson Corp, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Feb 25, 2016" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved Apr 23, 2018.
  50. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Named Forbes' Best Managed Oil and Gas Company" (Press release). Business Wire. January 17, 2007.
  51. ^ "Congratulations 2009 Winners". S&P Global Platts. 2010.
  52. ^ "Platts 2012 Global Energy Awards--Winners". S&P Global Platts.
  53. ^ "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Named Forbes' Best Managed Oil and Gas Company" (Press release). Business Wire. October 5, 2010.
  54. ^ "Best Companies to Work For 2014". Fortune.
  55. ^ "OKC Arena to be Renamed Chesapeake Energy Arena" (Press release). National Basketball Association. July 22, 2011.

External links[edit]