EQT continues growth, buying Chevron’s Appalachian shale gas assets

By Gerson Freitas Jr. on 10/28/2020

(Bloomberg) --EQT Corp. agreed to buy Chevron Corp.’s Appalachian shale assets for $735 million as the biggest producer of U.S. natural gas takes advantage of an industry slump to expand.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, EQT said in a statement on Tuesday. Chevron has been trying to unload its Appalachian gas holdings since late 2019, when it recorded an $11 billion writedown for that asset and others amid a swelling domestic gas glut and cratering prices for the furnace and power-plant fuel.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of recent deals where shale drillers are seeking to add scale to cope with a plunge in commodity prices that has left much of the industry unprofitable.

“This acquisition is a natural bolt-on extension of EQT’s dominant position in the core of the southwest Marcellus and supplements our already impressive asset base,” EQT Chief Executive Officer Toby Rice said in the statement.

The Chevron assets include about 100 work-in-progress wells, with a net production capacity of 450 million cubic feet a day, EQT said. It will also give the shale explorer a 31% ownership interest in pipeline company Laurel Mountain Midstream.

EQT indicated it may fund the deal with cash on hand, a revolving credit facility or a separately disclosed issuance of up to 23 million common shares. EQT fell in after-hours trading, dropping 3% to $15.67 at 7:59 p.m. in New York. Chevron fell 0.6%.

EQT has also made a proposal to acquire rival CNX Resources Corp., people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News last week. No final decision had been made and EQT could opt to not proceed with a potential deal, they said.

CNX fell 1.6% after the arrangement with Chevron was announced.

EQT already is the largest supplier of U.S. gas, producing 44% more than its nearest competitor, Exxon Mobil Corp., according to figures compiled by the Natural Gas Supply Association. EQT pumped about 4 billion cubic feet a day as of the first quarter.

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