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Oklahoma reacts to death of Aubrey McClendon

Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report
The site on N. Midwest Blvd where Aubrey McClendon's vehicle crashed and burned, killing the co-founder of Chesapeake Energy.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – News of the death of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon sent shockwaves through the Oklahoma City community and beyond as condolences began pouring in from energy companies and public leaders alike.

McClendon, current CEO of American Energy Partners, was confirmed killed in a fiery car accident Wednesday morning just after 9 a.m. on N. Midwest Blvd., between E. Memorial Rd. and NE 122nd. St.

The Oklahoma City police said the crash occurred at high speed.

“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Oklahoma City Capt. Paco Balderrama said.

According to Oklahoma City Police, McClendon’s SUV struck a bridge and burst into flames. His death comes one day after the former CEO and co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp. was indicted for conspiring to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.

“Chesapeake is deeply saddened by the news that we have heard today and our thoughts and prayers are with the McClendon family during this difficult time,” Chesapeake Energy said in a statement today.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said McClendon was a philanthropist who cared for his community.

"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Aubrey’s family. We will always appreciate and remember Aubrey’s generosity and civic pride in our community – from his support of countless local charities to the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of OKC to the arts,” he said. “His philanthropic investments in local schools and universities, the Boathouse District and throughout our city consistently raised the standards of what Oklahoma City could be. His love and support of this community will loom large for decades to come."

In the energy sector, the news came as shock and many issued statements sharing their condolences.

"It is with deep sadness that AELP confirms that earlier today, its founder, Aubrey K. McClendon died in a car accident on Midwest Boulevard in Oklahoma City,” American Energy Partners stated.

“Aubrey’s tremendous leadership, vision, and passion for the energy industry had an impact on the community, the country, and the world. We are tremendously proud of his legacy and will continue to work hard to live up to the unmatched standards he set for excellence and integrity.  We will deeply mourn his loss and please join us in expressing our condolences to his family."

The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association President Mike Terry described McClendon as a leader who was respected and admired.

"Aubrey McClendon was a groundbreaking pioneer and true champion of Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry,” Terry said. “He was an extraordinary individual and businessman, admired and treasured by his peers, colleagues and employees. His steadfast dedication to this industry, Oklahoma and his hometown of Oklahoma City helped usher in a new era of oil and natural gas exploration in the Sooner State and across the nation.

“By focusing on unconventional resource reservoirs and the use of horizontal drilling, Aubrey helped put in motion our nation’s push toward energy independence, and his use of these unconventional techniques in the development of natural gas was copied by oil and natural gas producers across the nation,” Terry said. “Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry has lost a true visionary whose accomplishments will long go unmatched. His passing is a great loss to the industry, state and city he vigorously and loyally supported."

Aubrey McClendon.

Continental Resources, owned by millionaire Harold Hamm, also expressed thoughts on McClendon’s passing.

“The Continental Resources family is deeply saddened by the passing of a legendary industry champion and civic visionary, Aubrey McClendon. Aubrey was one of the first horizontal drilling pioneers to recognize the vast energy resources that exist in our country. With his visionary ideas, he not only transformed this industry, but also helped transform Oklahoma City into a world-class city.

“His legacy will live on through the American Energy Renaissance that he helped launch, through his numerous philanthropic endeavors, and through the opportunity he provided for thousands of oil and natural gas industry workers across the U.S.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Aubrey’s family and friends at this tragic time,” the statement read.

Oil mogul T. Boone Pickens weighed in on the unexpected death.

“I’ve known Aubrey McClendon for nearly 25 years. He was a major player in leading the stunning energy renaissance in America. He was charismatic and a true American entrepreneur. No individual is without flaws, but his impact on American energy will be long-lasting,” Pickens said.

Chesapeake Energy, along with other Oklahoma companies, helped pioneer hydraulic fracturing in newly explored shale fields, but a glut of natural gas has spelled trouble for the company McClendon founded.

Last year, Chesapeake settled charges of antitrust, fraud and racketeering by agreeing to pay $25 million as compensation to landowners with leases.

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Heide Brandes

Heide Brandes is an award-winning journalist and editor with more than 18 years of experience....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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