LISBON - A start-up company founded by former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon is showing an interest in the southern part of Columbiana County.
McClendon parted ways with the natural gas giant earlier this year and founded American Energy Partners and two other companies.
East Liverpool attorney David Tobin said he has recently negotiated oil and gas leases for Great River Energy, a new oil and gas development company formed through a partnership between American Energy and Texas firm Orange Energy Consultants.
Tobin works out of the Charles Payne law offices in East Liverpool and provided a copy of an email sent to him in August by Scott Beckman, attorney and managing partner of Orange Energy.
Beckman said in the correspondence that American Energy and Great River Energy "are working together in the southern Utica shale play and intend to acquire acreage and drilling wells in the very near future."
Great River is based in Fort Worth, Texas, but now has an office in North Canton.
The Huffington Post reported in late August American Energy had raised $1 billion in capital and purchased more than 72,000 acres in five Ohio counties.
The company began running advertisements in the (Lisbon) Morning Journal newspaper months ago seeking oil and gas leases in Jefferson, Harrison, Guernsey, Noble, Belmont and Monroe counties.
It is reportedly focusing on those counties and portions of Columbiana and Carroll counties in the Utica shale play not already claimed by Chesapeake.
Tobin said a "number of lawyers" in the southern part of the county are negotiating leases with McClendon-associated companies.
The businessman parted ways with Chesapeake after shareholders in 2012 criticized the way he was running the company, claiming he was focusing more on feathering his own nest than shareholder dividends and company profits.
Youngstown attorney Alan Wenger, who also negotiates leases for county residents, said Chesapeake secured the most leases early on during the "craze" three years ago.
Wenger serves as chair of the oil and gas law practice group for Harrington Hoppe and Mitchell. The firm has offices in Youngstown, Warren and Salem.