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Dan Dicker

Dan Dicker

Dan Dicker is a 25 year veteran of the New York Mercantile Exchange where he traded crude oil, natural gas, unleaded gasoline and heating oil…

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Aubrey McClendon’s Legacy

There is, of course, a terrible tragedy in the death of Aubrey McClendon on Wednesday, but there also is something larger. Inside the life and business that McClendon built is the ultimate personification of the U.S. shale oil and gas boom and current bust. In retelling some of the highlights of McClendon’s career we see not only the great American spirit of entrepreneurship and progress, but also the enormous excesses and lawless behavior that has characterized independent U.S. oil and gas in the last decade and a half that has contributed to the current decimation we’re seeing today.

Aubrey was a pioneer in harnessing the fracking technology invented by George Mitchell and building Chesapeake Energy (CHK) from the ground up with partner Tom Ward (later of Sandridge Energy (SD), and first tasted the power of the capital markets with the public offering of Chesapeake shares in 1993.

McClendon was fast in harnessing the leverage that was becoming more plentiful towards start-up energy companies to continue to buy up acreage and grow Chesapeake at a reckless and alarming rate – but with natural gas prices soaring in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, it seemed to be only smart to continue to increase production (and Chesapeake share price) as rapidly as the capital markets would allow it. But McClendon was not satisfied to merely grow the company through leverage – he was the true personification of the cowboy wildcatter, taking…

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