Natural gas icon Tom Ward may be shopping for shale gas assets that were sold in 2011 by Chesapeake Energy Corp., the company he co-founded in 1989.
Ward, who’s starting Mach Resources with a partner, said in a Bloomberg Television interview Wednesday that the Fayetteville shale in Arkansas and Oklahoma is a “wonderful place to look for gas.” BHP Billiton Ltd., which purchased the Fayetteville assets from Chesapeake in 2011 for $4.75 billion, said it’s weighing a sale a little more than two weeks after billionaire Paul Singer proposed spinning off the mining company’s U.S. petroleum division.
BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, put the Fayetteville assets up for sale in 2014 before a slump in oil prices undercut bids. It has been forced to cut the value of the property by nearly $3 billion, making it the kind of asset sought by Ward, who has specialized in finding wealth in under-performing plays.
When asked during the interview if Mach Resources would be interested, Ward said “I like the Fayetteville, so yes.” Ward added that Mach Resources is not actively discussing a deal, but he is open to one.