Shale Directories Look at 29 Companies
The year 2020 is in the rearview mirror, and the U.S. oil and gas industry is thrilled to kick the ultra-tumultuous year down the basement steps.
A product demand plunge, investors turning up their collective noses to funding anything related to O&G, and, of course, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic combined to pummel the industry.
Through the year, companies were forced to go beyond what had been the norm concerning ESG, environmental, social and governance criteria, as socially-conscious investors place more importance not just on the bottom line, but how their investment reached that result.
Through the first 11 months of the old year, 45 E&Ps, 57 oilfield services firms and five midstreamers filed for bankruptcy, with total debt pegged at more than $95.76 billion, according to law firm Haynes and Boone.
“We have tried to determine which E&Ps operating in the Appalachian Basin, primarily Pennsylvania, could be the next to buy a rival, sell some or all of its assets, or hunker down even more and ride through the current chasm,” stated Joe Barone, President and Founder, Shale Directories.
Big, small, publicly- or privately-held, we peered into our crystal ball to give our readers a feel for what could happen in 2021.
EQT Corp. is Pittsburgh-based, and Toby Z. Rice is president, CEO. The company owns/leases more than 1 million net acres in PA, Ohio, WV. Rice has publicly stated there must be massive consolidation in the Appalachian Basin. Late last year, he helped get things rolling with the $735 million deal for all of Chevron’s Basin assets. It’s been rumored for months Rice wants to add fellow Pittsburgh-area based competitor CNX to his portfolio.
Ascent Resources is based in Oklahoma City, with Jeff Fisher its CEO. The company holds an acreage position of 340,000 net acres of leasehold and mineral acreage in Ohio’s portion of the Utica Shale play, primarily in the counties of Belmont, Jefferson, Guernsey, Harrison and Noble.
Ascent is one of several producing companies the late Aubrey McClendon launched after being forced out at leaving Chesapeake Energy in 2013. It’s last big deals were in 2018, when Ascent acquired assets from CNX, Hess and Salt Fork Resources for $1.5 billion. Backed by deep-pocket funds managed by The Energy & Minerals Group and First Reserve, Ascent, the eighth-largest gas producer in the U.S., could be a big buyer in the new year.
PennEnergy Resources, led by Chairman & CEO Rich Weber, is based west of Pittsburgh, in Robinson Township. Controls more than 210,000 gross acres in the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian Shale plays, with the core area located in Beaver, Butler and Armstrong counties in Western Pennsylvania. Weber and PennEnergy President and Chief Operating Officer Gregory Muse previously were executives with Atlas Energy, which was sold to Chevron in 2011 for $4.4 billion. In 2018, Penn Energy acquired substantially all the assets of Rex Energy out of bankruptcy for $600.5 million in cash. Backed by the deep pockets of EnCap Investment and Wells Fargo Energy Capital, PennEnergy looks like a buyer to Shale Directories.
Southwestern Energy, based in Houston, is led by President and CEO William Way. The producer controls more than 208,000 net acres in Northeast Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale dry-gas play, and 577,293 net acres in southeast Ohio and north and central West Virginia. Late in 2020, Southwestern completed the $857 million deal for Montage Resources, formed in early 2019, with the combination of Blue Ridge Mountain Resources (the former Magnum Hunter Resources) and Eclipse Resources. One of the largest producers in the Marcellus and Utica plays, and the largest condensate producer in the Appalachian Basin, look for Southwestern to continue building on its formula for success: “The right people doing the right things, wisely investing the cash flow from underlying assets to create value.”
Antero Resources, a Denver-based E&P, led by Chairman & CEO Paul Rady. Antero holds over 451,000 net acres primarily in the Marcellus Shale northern West Virginia, and over 91,000 net acres in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio. Bills itself as the most integrated natural gas & liquids platform in North America, with E&P, midstream and transportation assets in its portfolio. Antero is the U.S.’s third-largest natural gas producer and second-largest liquids producer. Antero hasn’t made a sizeable acquisition in 4-1/2 years, but given its all-encompassing asset portfolio and strong balance sheet, it could be a strong buyer in Appalachia.
CNX Resources, headquartered south of Pittsburgh in Cecil Township, is led by President & CEO Nick DeIuliis. The company, once part of coal producer Consol Energy, CNX’s portfolio includes 563,689 net acres in the Marcellus Shale play, and 259,000 net acres in the Utica Shale. CNX also has full control of CNX Midstream Partners and CNX Water Assets LLC, with operations in the Appalachian Basin. Shale Directories sees CNX as a buyer or seller. Rumors persist fellow Appalachian