HEADLINES: Billion-Dollar Deals; Production Surge; Election Effect
Chesapeake Energy’s nearly $4 billion acquisition of WildHorse Resources marks a pivot point for the company. That’s what Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler told the audience at the Deloitte Oil and gas Conference in Houston this week—just hours after news broke of the mega-deal in the Eagle Ford.
In case you missed it, Chesapeake Energy said it will acquire WildHorse and assume its net debt of $930 million. Chesapeake has been on an oil-focused growth platform. Lawler said the acquisition complements the company’s existing high-margin Eagle Ford and Powder River Basin positions. He expects 80% of the company’s future drilling and completion activity will be directed toward high-margin oil opportunities.
Encana will combine with Newfield Exploration, which is set to place Encana as North America’s second largest producer of unconventional resources. Following the close of its combination with Newfield, Encana expects liquids production will contribute over 50% of total company production, driving continued margin expansion and returns.
Also, Denbury Resources will acquire Penn Virginia in the Eagle Ford Shale in an all-stock transaction valued at about $1.7 billion, which includes associated debt.
U.S. crude production hit a new record in August, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in a report released this week. Production surged to 11.3 million barrels per day in August. The biggest jumps were in Texas and North Dakota. Natural gas production rose to an all-time high of 94.7 billion cubic feet per day in August.
Next week is election day. Not only is the balance of power in Congress up for grabs, but several ballot initiatives impacting the oil and gas industry are also in voters’ hands—mainly Colorado’s Prop 112, which seeks to expand setbacks, and Washington state’s Initiative 1631 that would create the nation’s first carbon tax. Ahead of the vote, Anadarko Petroleum said it may shift some investment out of Colorado if Prop 112 is approved by voters. The company could shift to the Delaware Basin with CEO Al Walker saying the election will “have some impact in terms of where we’ll allocate capital.”