Chesapeake Energy has changed a key non-compete clause in the contract with its former CEO, and will now allow Aubrey McClendon to acquire oil and gas holdings adjacent to company wells in which he is a part-owner.
The change was disclosed Friday afternoon in a government filing, and removes what had been a potential obstacle to McClendon's newest endeavors in the oil and gas industry.
The 53-year-old McClendon has registered two companies in Oklahoma, McClendon Operating Energy Inc., which is the joint partner of American Energy Partners. According to reports, he has leased office space less than a mile east of Chesapeake on NW 63rd St.
The company's separation agreement with McClendon, dated January 29, 2013, had restricted him from acquiring, or helping others acquire, oil and gas assets immediately next to Chesapeake.
Friday's filing acknowledges that McClendon remains one of the company's largest joint interest owners, and continues, "as such, the Executive has certain common law and contractual rights as a working interest owner and the exercise of those rights, including the acquisition of additional interests in the jointly owned spacing units...will not violate Section 8 of the Employment Agreement."
Neither Chesapeake, nor McClendon made any comment in conjunction with the filing.
McClendon co-founded Chesapeake in 1989. He helped build it into the country's second-biggest natural-gas producer after Exxon Mobil. He left the company at the beginning of this month, however, in the wake of a governance scandal that resulted in an overhaul of the company's board and several federal investigations, the outcomes of which are still pending.
Chesapeake will pay McClendon nearly $50 million in severance, with the last payment due in 2014. The company also disclosed Friday that it will allow him the use of a company Citation X aircraft through 2016.