Aubrey McClendon's new oil and gas venture, American Energy Partners LP, is locked in battle with an Ohio coal mining company over the use of the American Energy name.
Both companies have moved to sue each other over the use of the American Energy moniker.
The Ohio Company, American Energy Corp.-Century Mine filed a lawsuit against McClendon and American Energy Partners on Wednesday in Belmont County, Ohio. The lawsuit accuses McClendon and American Energy Partners of deceptive trade practices and copyright infringement.
McClendon's company fired back on Thursday with a lawsuit of its own filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City. In its lawsuit, American Energy Partners asks the court to declare that it has the right to continue using the name American Energy over the mining company's protests.
A letter to McClendon from the Ohio mining company written before the lawsuits were filed was included with American Energy Partners' lawsuit.
“It is our understanding that it is the purpose of American Energy Partners, LP, to directly compete with coal in the same marketplace and for the same customers, through the development of Utica shale gas,” the Ohio mining company said in the letter to McClendon.
The Ohio company on Friday also issued a statement about the dispute.
“Clearly, Mr. McClendon, who was ousted from his prior post at Chesapeake Energy, is attempting to cause confusion in the marketplace and further his goal of eliminating the use of coal in America,” the mining company wrote.
American Energy Corp.-Century is owned by Murray Energy Corp., based in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Murray is the largest privately owned coal mining company in the United States with eight underground and surface mining operations, along with 40 subsidiary and support operations, according to its website.
McClendon did not immediately respond to an email about the lawsuit on Friday. Attempts to reach American Energy Partners' attorneys were unsuccessful on Friday.
McClendon founded American Energy Partners earlier this year after his ouster from Chesapeake Energy Corp.
American Energy Partners is based on the sixth floor of an office building at 301 NW 63 — just a few blocks from Chesapeake's main campus. Various media have reported American Energy Partners is buying up oil and gas leases in Ohio's Utica shale after securing a round of private equity funding.
McClendon has so far not spoken to the media about his plans for American Energy Partners, and has either declined to comment or not responded to The Oklahoman's requests for an interview.
Along with forming the shell companies American Energy-Utica, LLC and American Energy-Ohio, LLC, in Oklahoma, American Energy Partners has also registered the entities American Energy-Marcellus, LLC, American Energy-Anadarko, LLC, and American Energy Anadarko Holdings, LLC, according to the Oklahoma secretary of state's office.