(Mar 13): On the morning of March 2, 2016, a large SUV smashed against the side of a bridge overpass in Oklahoma City. The driver was 56-year-old Aubrey McClendon, one of the of most aggressive CEOs in the US and the founder of Chesapeake Energy, who helped triggered the shale oil boom, single-handedly transforming the global oil and gas industry and making America the world’s top oil producer. The US now produces 13.6 million barrels a day ahead of Saudi Arabia’s 12 million barrels and Russia’s nine million barrels. America’s once massive petroleum deficit — US$436 billion ($610 billion) in 2008 — is now a surplus.

Though McClendon was driving very fast, he was not intoxicated. There were no brake marks on the road leaving the police puzzled over whether it was an accident or suicide. Just a day earlier, however, the shale pioneer had been indicted by US federal court for allegedly “orchestrating a conspiring to rig the price of oil and natural gas leases in Oklahoma.”

McClendon was a larger-than-life former billionaire who had lived through several boomand-bust cycles in the oil business. At the peak Chesapeake had a market capitalisation of US$35 billion and McClendon was America’s most highly paid CEO taking US$100 million a year boasting of the world’s largest wine collection and biggest known collection of antique maps.

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