Chesapeake’s Total Image Makeover – Magical Media Transformation

A recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about Chesapeake Energy is striking—even jarring—to MDN. Nominally it’s an article about the high tech lab and practices used at Chesapeake headquarters in Oklahoma City to evaluate core samples to determine the best (and most cost-effective) places to drill for oil and gas. Yes, the Center and the technology used is quite impressive. The jarring part is how the article opens (read below). It seems Chessy is now out of the penalty box since the departure of its "bad boy" founder Aubrey McClendon (see McClendon Exits Chesapeake, Well-Bonused “Friends” Replace Him).

With corporate raider Carl Icahn and his ilk firmly in control, it’s time to put some spit-n-polish back on old Chessy and bump up the stock price that had been battered to serious lows from coordinated negative media attacks. Now it’s stock rehab time in the mainstream press…

Hardly a week since McClendon left, and all-of-a-sudden Chessy is a "world-class competitor" and has a campus that "sprawls" with majestic "redbrick Georgian-style buildings…like a college campus," and inside it’s like Oz with "unusual amenities." Absolutely no reference to how this magical world came to be—through the blood, sweat, tears and determination of Aubrey McClendon. In just one week, Chessy has been transformed from a hollowed out, debt-ridden nasty purveyor of fossil fuels to a gleaming city of high tech wonders doing important work:

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is tiny compared with traditional global oil companies, but its embrace of new technologies has helped make it a world-class competitor.

Founded in Oklahoma City in 1989 with $50,000 and headquartered in a 6,000 square-foot office, Chesapeake’s home base today occupies 1 million square feet and sprawls over a 111-acre campus five miles from downtown.

The redbrick Georgian-style buildings look like a college campus, not a corporate center staffed with engineers, geologists, lawyers and others.

The more than 4,000 employees on the campus have unusual amenities — a 63,000 square-foot full-service daycare center, a 72,000 square-foot fitness center and three brightly lit restaurants.

The campus is the nerve center for Chesapeake’s eight-state empire that includes Ohio. Its mission is to make drilling more efficient and less expensive by eliminating the guesswork.

The labs turn out exhaustive profiles of geologic formations underlying future well fields, and they do it faster than anybody else in the industry, said Don Harville, manager of what Chesapeake calls its Reservoir Technology Center.

Inside the center, Harville’s teams pore over miles of drill samples — cylindrical plugs of stone that have come from wells in states that Chesapeake hopes to develop.*

    Click below to read more about the marvelous company, and the marvelous Reservoir Technology Center—that Aubrey built.

      *Cleveland (OH) The Plain Dealer (Apr 6, 2013) – Chesapeake Energy’s high-tech gamble for Ohio shale starts in an Oklahoma laboratory