How Aubrey McClendon Led Today’s Energy Revolution

Aubrey McClendon 1959-2016

Aubrey McClendon 1959-2016

By Russell Gold

Ten years ago, I first interviewed a brash up-and-comer in the energy business named Aubrey McClendon. The chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, he was smart and personable. His bold vision of the future of energy struck me—and made me a little skeptical.

McClendon said that there were lots of new places to drill; you just needed to lease vast tracts of land and begin fracking, a then-obscure method of cracking open rock to get at natural gas. This was about as far from the conventional wisdom as you could then get, but much of it turned out to be true.

McClendon wasn’t the inventor of fracking, but he was its chief apostle. He led the energy revolution that has swept North America for the past decade. He convinced Wall Street to fund his company and others chasing gas deposits in shale rocks, and he sped up the metabolism of the sleepy domestic energy industry until it produced an abundance of natural gas and oil.

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