Aubrey McClendon's new company has lined up about $1.7 billion to hunt for oil and natural gas in Ohio's Utica Shale.
American Energy — Utica LLC, a subsidiary of McClendon's American Energy Partners LP, has raised a blend of private equity commitments and loans to fund operations in eastern Ohio, it announced Wednesday.
The company intends to use that money to acquire about 110,000 acres of leasehold in the southern part of the Utica Shale and fund drilling operations. It expects to have one rig operating there before the end of the year, with plans to increase drilling activity to include at least 12 rigs over the next couple of years.
Industry analyst Fadel Gheit said it was no surprise McClendon's new company is targeting the Utica Shale, which he touted as a major discovery in 2011 while he was CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.
“This is Aubrey's favorite child and the one he had always said will have the best economics among all plays, including the Eagle Ford (in south Texas) and the Bakken (in North Dakota),” said Gheit, an Oppenheimer analyst. “He is so convinced that he is putting his money where his mouth is.”