Aubrey McClendon, the oil and natural gas wildcatter ousted from Chesapeake Energy Corp. last year, is exploring a purchase of Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s operations in California for as much as $5 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

McClendon’s American Energy Partners LP has been seeking to raise capital to fund the potential deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public. American Energy, which has raised $13 billion since it was started last April, would fold the assets into a newly created operating unit, the people said.

Subscribe Now

Complete access to real-time information and analysis of news and trends in the industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.