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Chesapeake Energy – and Oklahoma Earthquakes – make surprise return to local relevance…

12:23 PM EST on January 15, 2024

It’s time to party like it’s 2009!

Last week, Chesapeake Energy – the corporate emblem of the rise and fall of the Oklahoma City renaissance – announced it was merging with Texas-based Southwestern Energy to create the largest natural gas producer in the country.

As a result of the merger, Chesapeake will get a new name and – at least for now – keep a large chunk of its corporate workforce at its largely vacant campus in Oklahoma City.

Via The Oklahoman:

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy announced Thursday it will merge with Houston's Southwestern Energy Company.

The $7.4 billion transaction will create the largest natural gas producer in the United States. The combined company will operate under a new name after the deal is closed, according to a press release from Chesapeake.

Nick Dell'Osso, the current President and CEO of Chesapeake, will retain that role with the combined company, which will be headquartered in Oklahoma City. The company will also maintain its Houston offices.

News of the merger rapidly made the rounds around the Oklahoma City social media ecosystem.

It was celebrated by Mayor Holt, Chamber of Commerce executives, and other local civic cheerleaders who long for the return of the good old days when Chesapeake was a Wall Street-backed Ponzi scheme that provided for employees and local non-profits, all while funding the opulent lifestyle of Aubrey McClendon.

Even Mother Earth got in on the celebration!

To the delight of local foundation repair companies, she triggered an old-school Oklahoma earthquake from deep within one of her freshly lubricated ancient fault lines near Lake Arcadia:

Yep, sound the tsunami sirens at Lake Hefner, hide under the table, and pop a bottle of cab from Aubrey McClendon’s old wine cellar. Oklahoma earthquakes are back, alright!

Seriously, even Alanis Morrisette would appreciate that irony in the big Friday night earthquake swarm.

The only thing that’s declined faster than Chesapeake Energy in recent years has been the Oklahoma Earthquake boom, so I guess it’s fitting that they both made a triumphant return within hours of each other!

Since these things are like celebrity deaths and happen in threes, I wonder what blast from OKC’s last decade past is going to happen next? H&8th firing up the food trucks? Russian Sam making a new model of the OKC skyline? The Thunder trading for Kevin Durant or James Harden?

I can’t wait to find out.

Although the Chesapeake / Southwestern merger is all but a done deal, there are still a lot of lingering questions, like what the new company will be called, will it hire beekeepers, and – most importantly – whether it will bring back Christmas lights.

There’s also a lot of speculation as to what the company will do with McClendonville Commons – a.k.a the part of the old Chesapeake Campus that was built to look like Duke University. Most of Cheseapeake’s current OKC workforce will work in an office building at the back of the campus, leaving them largely empty.

The Oklahoman took a look at the question last week, but didn’t provide any answers. If you ask me, I think the company should go with some of the ideas that Louis and I floated when it filed for bankruptcy three years ago. Paintball, anyone?

Anyway, we’d like to send a happy “Welcome Back!” to both Chesapeake Energy and Oklahoma Earthquakes. I guess neither's really left us, but it’s cool to see them once again taking center stage in the local zeitgeist.

As long as our future coverage doesn’t involve layoffs, bankruptcy or a massive devastating earthquake that kills thousands, we can’t wait to see what they do over the next decade.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.

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