Southwestern Completes Montage Merger, Now 3rd Largest M-U Co.

In August Southwestern Energy announced it is buying out and merging in Montage Resources in an all-stock deal (see Stop Press! Southwestern Energy Buying Montage Resources for $857M). As of Friday Montage, which was itself a merger of two companies (Blue Ridge Mountain Resources and Eclipse Resources) is no more. Montage is now a part of Southwestern.
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Montage Resources Releases Last Quarterly Update – Merging Next Wk

After a shareholder vote scheduled for next Thursday, Nov. 12, Montage Resources will be no more. The company is selling itself to Southwestern Energy in an all-stock deal worth $857 million (see Stop Press! Southwestern Energy Buying Montage Resources for $857M). Yesterday Montage issued what will be its very last quarterly update. What does the update show?
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Southwestern Expects to Close on Montage Purchase Nov. 12

Southwestern Energy Company released its third-quarter 2020 update last Friday. The company previously announced it is buying out and merging in Marcellus/Utica driller Montage Resources. During the 3Q conference call, CEO Bill Way said the company expects to close on the deal immediately after Montage Resources shareholders vote on the deal November 12. Also from the 3Q update: Southwestern managed to reduce the cost of drilling for one of their PA Marcellus wells down to $491 per lateral foot!
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Southwestern Raises $502M to Pay Off Montage Debt

Last week we brought you the bombshell news that Southwestern Energy is buying out and merging in Montage Resources in an all-stock deal worth roughly $857 million (see Stop Press! Southwestern Energy Buying Montage Resources for $857M). In a series of announcements yesterday, Southwestern said it has just finished raising $152 million from selling more stock, and is in the process of raising another $350 million from issuing new notes (debt, IOUs). The money raised ($502 million total) will be used to pay off debt owed by Montage.
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Southwestern Hits “Grand Slam” with Purchase of Montage Resources

Last week, in one of the biggest news stories (for us) so far this year, Southwestern Energy announced it is buying out and merging in Montage Resources (see Stop Press! Southwestern Energy Buying Montage Resources for $857M). The combined companies will create the third-largest (by acreage) Marcellus/Utica driller. Yet investors have pretty much yawned. The company’s stock went down after the announcement. According to one analyst, Southwestern’s purchase is a “grand slam” home run and investors should sit up and take notice.
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Stop Press! Southwestern Energy Buying Montage Resources for $857M

Holy smokes! We didn’t see this one coming. Just yesterday MDN brought you the second-quarter update from Montage Resources (see Montage Resources: 5 New OH Utica Wells, Profits Tumble in 2Q). Little did we know the company was in an advanced stage of negotiations to sell itself to Southwestern Energy. Perhaps “sell” isn’t quite the right word. The two companies are merging, with Southwestern taking over Montage, in an all-stock deal worth roughly $204.3 $857 million (NOTE: We amended this article after Raymond James calculated the deal to be worth a much higher amount, see our update below). The combination will create the third-largest (by acres leased) Marcellus/Utica driller with a combined 786,187 net acres.
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Montage Resources: 5 New OH Utica Wells, Profits Tumble in 2Q

Montage Resources, the new name for the merger of Eclipse Resources with Blue Ridge Mountain Resources which happened more than a year ago, issued its second-quarter 2020 update last week. Production for Montage in the Marcellus/Utica was up slightly (3%), to 551.7 MMcfe/d in 2Q. Profits, on the other hand, were way down. The company lost $68.9 million in 2Q20 versus making a $27.5 million profit in 2Q19. Low prices for natgas explain why.
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Montage Sells Non-Core Utica Pipe Assets to Int’l Buyer for $25M

Montage Resources, the new name for the merger of Eclipse Resources with Blue Ridge Mountain Resources which happened more than a year ago, announced yesterday it is selling its “non-core” wellhead gathering infrastructure (pipelines) in the Ohio Utica condensate development area to an unnamed international buyer for $25 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year.
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COVID Impact on PA Landowners: Low Royalties, Lease Expirations

The Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management (Washington, PA) is hosting a free webinar series on “Effects of COVID-19 and the Economic Downturn on Western Pennsylvania Shale Gas Development” during June and July. Two of the three sessions have already been held, including a session yesterday that discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on landowners who have leased their land for shale drilling. According to the speaker, there have been two notable effects of the virus for landowners: lower royalties and drillers not renewing leases (allowing leases to expire).
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9 Big M-U Companies Lost $2.6 Billion in Value During 1Q20

A word you will likely see a lot more of in quarterly updates by oil and gas drillers across the country is the word “impairment.” It’s an accounting term that means the value of an asset (leased acreage or wells) is adjusted, down, to reflect a company’s best guess as to how much revenue that asset can generate. We wrote about impairments back in 2015 (see A Basic Guide to Understanding “Impairments” for Marcellus/Utica). Largely because of impairments, nine of the biggest Marcellus/Utica drillers cumulatively lost $2.6 billion in value (on paper) during the first quarter of this year. However, two of the nine had no impairments. And one of the nine made a profit in 1Q20. Can you guess which one?
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Montage Opens Up the Taps – Shut-in Utica Wells Now Back Online

In April, Montage Resources shut-in “low margin production” wells in its liquids-rich producing area. The shut-ins primarily impacted Utica condensate production. In early May during the company’s first-quarter update conference call, CEO John Reinhart said the company had begun to restart some of the shut-in or “curtailed” production (see Montage Res. Drilled 4 Utica Wells in 1Q, Budget Cut Another 10%). Good news. As of June 1, “substantially all” of the shut-in production is now back online.
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M-U Drillers See New Interest from Bond (Debt) Investors

Wow! What a difference three months can make. In January Moody’s Investors Service downgraded EQT Corporation’s bonds to “junk” status (see Moody’s Downgrades EQT Debt to Junk Status Following Write-Down). A few weeks later Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings downgraded the credit rating for six of the biggest Marcellus/Utica drillers, including EQT (see S&P Downgrades Credit Rating for Six Big Marcellus/Utica Drillers). Once thought risky and speculative, investors seem to have changed their minds about investing in M-U debt. They’re taking a second look.
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Montage Resources Trims Another $45M Off 2020 Capex Budget

In February Montage Resources said in 2020 it will increase production approximately 6% over 2019 while slicing its capital expenditure budget by 44%, to $190-$210 million for the year (see Montage Resources 2020 Sneak Preview: More OH Marcellus Drilling). That was BC, before coronavirus. It’s now AD, after (oil price) disaster, and the company has just announced it will decrease capex spending by another $45 million. To be fair, the company does not specifically blame either the coronavirus or the oil price shock for its actions. In a statement, the company says it continues to “monitor market conditions” and adjust accordingly. However, there is a big change in drilling strategy coming…
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Montage New Gathering Pipe Contract, Hedges for 2020/21

Montage Resources, the company that resulted after the merger of Eclipse Resources with Blue Ridge Mountain Resources one year ago, issued an announcement on Monday with two important pieces of news. One is that the company has renegotiated a deal with the company that gathers the natural gas from its wells, merging a bunch of separate agreements into a single new agreement. The implied message is that Montage will save significant money. Second, the company has most of its natural gas production hedged for the balance of 2020, preselling it for $2.63/Mcf. They’ve also hedged some of their 2021 production–at a slightly lower price.
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Montage Resources 2019 in Review, What’s Ahead in 2020

Montage Resources provided an update on fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 performance and what to expect in 2020 last Friday. You may recall Montage is the name of the company that resulted after the merger of Eclipse Resources with Blue Ridge Mountain Resources one year ago (see Blue Ridge Merges with Eclipse, Renamed to Montage Resources). Montage previously announced it will mainly focus on drilling Marcellus wells in Ohio (not a typo!). Perhaps most notable about the company update from Friday is that for three years running (consolidated numbers) the company has turned a profit–the largest profit being in 2019, with $31.8 million. That’s remarkable given the economic pickle drillers are in right now.
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