Aubrey has been indicted for conspiring to rig bids on oil and gas leases.  Way to go DOJ!   Too bad Louisiana never had the nerve to do the right thing here.


Tags: Aubrey, Chesapeake, McClendon

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Ex-Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon Indicted on Antitrust Charges

Justice Department alleges McClendon orchestrated conspiracy not to compete for oil and gas leases

By Amy Harder and Brent Kendall Updated March 1, 2016 7:27 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—Aubrey McClendon, former CEO of Chesapeake Energy and one of the biggest names in the U.S. energy boom, was indicted Tuesday on charges of conspiring to rig bids for the purchase of oil and natural-gas leases. The Justice Department unveiled the charges Tuesday evening, alleging Mr. McClendon, who stepped down as the top executive of Chesapeake in 2013, orchestrated a conspiracy between two large oil and natural-gas companies to not bid against each other for the purchase of certain leases in northwest Oklahoma.

Mr. McClendon didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment. Mr. McClendon co-founded Chesapeake in 1989 and led the company until he was pushed out in 2013 by activist investors who had become concerned about his leadership and cash short-falls at the debt-laden company.

Gordon Pennoyer, a spokesman for Chesapeake, said the company has been cooperating with the Justice Department “for some time,” providing investigators with information on the company’s leasing practices under Mr. McClendon.

“Chesapeake does not expect to face criminal prosecution or fines relating to this matter,” Mr. Pennoyer said, adding that the company has taken significant steps to address legacy issues and comply with laws and regulations.

The under the alleged conspiracy, which ran between December 2007 and March 2012, it was decided ahead of time who would win the leases. The Justice Department didn’t name anyone else it believed participated in the alleged conspiracy.

Bill Baer, head of the department’s antitrust division, said Mr. McClendon’s actions “put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land.”

Mr. McClendon is now the head of American Energy Partners LP. The Justice Department said the charges were the first resulting from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other possible anticompetitive actions in the oil and natural gas industry.

Hey Henry... any ideas about company A and company B?

Henry, as far as I can tell, Aubrey never did in Louisiana what he is accused of doing in Oklahoma.  Quite the contrary, what happened in Louisiana - the hyper competition for Haynesville leases - likely cause him, and others, to collude to fix prices and avoid paying those astronomical bonuses in Oklahoma and elsewhere.  Aubrey's questionable, and quite likely illegal, Louisiana move was/is related to royalty deductions -  ignoring certain cost free deduction language and deducting for items not covered in Louisiana mineral law such as the cost to build gathering systems and for stand by charges negotiated in the sale of those assets.

Very sad news for the McClendon and broader Chesapeake Energy corporation and American Energy Partners.

Join me in praying for all those involved.



Aubrey McClendon will be forever known as an innocent man, anyone who calls him a crook could be sued for slander.

Many likely will, with good reason. Bringing suit however does not include the certainty to prevail in a court of law.  A momentary act of rage?  Or planned?  Is there a note? 

SandRidge Ex-CEO Ward Said to Be Alleged McClendon Conspirator

Joe Carroll jcarrollchgo  David McLaughlin damclaugh

March 2, 2016 — 3:19 PM EST Updated on March 2, 2016 — 5:07 PM EST

  • Ward was Chesapeake Energy co-founder alongside McClendon
  • McLendon killed in crash a day after bid-rigging indictment

The natural gas explorer who allegedly conspired with the late Aubrey McClendon to rig drilling auctions was Tom Ward, then chairman and chief executive officer of SandRidge Energy Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Ward is an industry veteran who in 1989 co-founded Chesapeake Energy Corp. alongside McClendon, a shale pioneer who built the company into a U.S. gas giant before being pushed out in 2013. McClendon died in a one-vehicle car crash on Wednesday, according to Oklahoma police, one day after the U.S. Justice Department announced his indictment for allegedly rigging auctions for oil and natural gas leases in northwestern Oklahoma.

Tuesday’s indictment alleged that from December 2007 to March 2012, McClendon orchestrated a scheme between his company and the chief executive officer of another large oil and gas company to coordinate bidding. McClendon at the time led Chesapeake. The second company was SandRidge, led at the time by Ward, according to the people familiar with the matter. 

SandRidge didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment. Ward didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment and no one picked up the phone at his office.

Chesapeake has been cooperating with prosecutors, receiving immunity under a Justice Department leniency program, according to company spokesman Gordon Pennoyer.

SandRidge Founder

Ward, after leaving Chesapeake, helped found SandRidge in 2006. It would grow into a $10 billion company.

Ward was fired as SandRidge’s chief executive officer in June 2013 “without cause” -- after a four-month independent review following questions by investors over transactions he and his family members made with the company. The review found nothing that merited termination with cause. In 2013, after leaving SandRidge, Ward formed Oklahoma City-based Tapstone Energy LLC using his own capital.

Ward, through his lawyer, said at the time that investigations by SandRidge’s board showed that his actions had been proper.

In early 2014, SandRidge disclosed that it had received a subpoena from the Justice Department related to a probe into potential antitrust violations during the purchase or lease of land, oil or natural gas rights.

SandRidge, which rode a boom in energy prices largely supported by junk debt, has fallen on hard times as oil and gas prices have plummeted. Saddled with $4.1 billion of debt, it skipped an interest payment on its bonds last month. The company said it was in discussions with its investors about how to restructure the debt and decided not to pay the interest despite the fact that it had enough cash, according to a company statement. It has until mid March to pay the $21.7 million of interest.

Suicide by car "accident" is not an easy way to go, but any half decent attorney will force a life insurance company to pay the policy.  Only Mr. McClendon knew what he was thinking right before the end.

The reason I said he will be forever innocent, is because dead people can't be tried for criminal crimes.

Yes, I got that, tc, and agree.  It's the potential for slander suits that I find unlikely.  Aubrey is gone but the litigation he is responsible for will go on for years to come.

I am no cop but this stinks to a point out of range for many that have followed Aubrey through the years. Most of us in the biz know that Aubrey was a "Cowboy" and cowboys don't take their own life. They fight to the end and the ending for this indictment would be years into the future. This is not cut and dried and more investigations need to be done. If he wore a white hat or a black hat doesn't matter.

I tend to agree Two Dogs, it doesn't completely fit the profile of Aubrey.


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