Lower 48 Shale CEO’s, once the most hard-lined capitalists in the United States, have further moved to the other side of the spectrum as they first cried for federal bailouts in response to the recent oil price crash, and are now set to unionize. Spurred by recent actions from Chesapeake and Whiting, whose management teams were compensated quite generously as they marched towards bankruptcy, other CEO’s wanted to make sure they were properly incentivized to continue destroying capital.
Appearing on CNBC’s The Squawk Box, Harold Hamm, de-facto Union Leader, made the case. “Listen, we need to unionize so that we are properly taken care of. We are the most valuable employee by far, and you’ll need us even more once we eventually file for bankruptcy. Right now, we only represent ~1.5% of the total G&A-load. I don’t think I can properly lead if I’m not at least representing a 10% share. We have made strides so far by continuing to reduce head count, but we need a significant bump to get us to that level. The Private Yacht, I mean, shale industry must be allowed to survive, and I don’t see how that happens if we can’t be compensated appropriately.” Joe Kernen and Becky Quick proceeded to give Hamm a standing ovation until the program was over.
Given that both Chesapeake and Whiting represented approximately -$0.55 BN US in Net Income last year, the group has a case as better cash destroyers, given the entire shale space incinerated almost 10X that in FY 2019.
Hamm promises that once the group of producers eventually reorganizes, the companies’ type-curves will miraculously improve and the markets will reward the shareholders for compensating the CEO’s ‘appropriately’.