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Following the canceled deal with Berkshire Hathaway, activist investor Carl Icahn slams the new Questar Pipeline transaction.

The sale of Dominion's assets to Southwest Gas Holdings Inc. includes an assumption of $430 million in debt by the buyer. Yet Carl Icahn, who owns a stake in Nevadas utility giant, scathingly criticized the offering to no avail. In his opinion, the price that Southwest is willing to pay is unreasonable.

Previously, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to acquire Questar as part of a $10 billion deal to buy Dominion's natural gas and storage assets. The latter had earlier canceled its $8 billion pipeline project, which involved the transportation of natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina, ultimately leading to the brokered deal.

Yet the Federal Trade Commission delayed approval of Dominion's sale of Questar to Berkshire in July. It was a consequence of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, which tanked the original arrangement. 

As compared to the terms of the sale to Berkshire Hathaway, Dominion's deal with Southwest is better. In the previous agreement, Berkshire would have paid half a billion less, while now Southwest Gas agreed to offer $1.975 billion and also assured of assuming the hanging debt of $430 million.

Riding high off the disappointment of a proposed deal, Carl Icahn sent a letter to Southwest's board, calling the deal a mistake. The investor holds a 4.9% stake in the company.

He contends that the management of SWX has committed several egregious errors at the expense of shareholders in recent years. Moreover, the rumored purchase of Questar at the stated price will only make all past errors seem trivial. 

In contrast, Dominion Energy sees the deal as yet another important step in the company's evolution, as this will allow it to concentrate even more on serving the energy needs of its utility customers and developing its clean-energy portfolio, including the development of North America's largest offshore wind farm.

In conjunction with the statement and despite Icahn’s outbursts, Dominion said its existing financial guidance will remain unchanged. Questar Pipelines will continue to be recorded as discontinued operations.

As for FERC-regulated Questar’s worth, it owns long-term contracts on transportation, and underground storage assets in six major producing regions in the Rocky Mountains, including the Uinta, Greater Green River, and Piceance basins, located in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado respectively, as well as related services and processing entities. And in case regulatory approvals are obtained, the transaction should close before 2021 has run out.

It is expected that Dominion will use proceeds from the sale to reduce its parent debt to zero, including retiring the 364-day term loan that it took out in July. Dominion Energy previously used this money to repay Berkshire's approximately $1.3 billion transaction deposit. Also covered by the proceeds will be Dominion’s regulated capital plan, which is one of the largest decarbonization programs in the country.

Through the whole process, Dominion Energy was advised financially by Barclays and legally by McGuireWoods LLP.

Restructuration is in a full-speed: Comstock to sell Bakken for $154 million

Comstock Resources decided to go through with asset divestment, selling its Bakken Shale actives for $150M to Northern Oil and Gas. The proceeds from these sales will be reinvested by Comstock Resources Inc. into the Haynesville Shale, at which point the company may acquire additional leasehold and fund drilling activities starting in 2022. Meanwhile, Northern clearly gunning for the pack leading position in the Texas shale play, but whether they succeed or not is remains to be seen.

There is a new guy on the block: Penn Virginia rebrands to Ranger Oil

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Penn Virginia announced a rebranding to Ranger Oil on 6 Oct. following the close of the Lonestar acquisition. This Texas oil & gas giant reinvents itself anew, shifting its energy development in the lone star state towards safer and more efficient oil and gas operations. The company's consolidated assets now amount to over 140,000 net acres strategically positioned in the Eagle Ford play of south Texas, making it one of the biggest players. It is anticipated that the full rebranding will be complete by the year-end of 2021. For the full rundown of the situation visit our blog.

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Oil output in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is supposed to go up 88,000 bbl/d to a record 5.219 million bbl/d in June, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced in its report on May 16. Additionally, gas productivity in the Permian Basin and the Haynesville in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas will rise to record highs of 20 Bcf/d and 15.1 Bcf/d in June, respectively. Given that this growth has been expected, recent global market changes make forecasting the output even more challenging. Learning how production will change is easier with early activity tracking, a new service recently launched by Rextag – Pad Activity Monitor. With the help of PAM, you are able to monitor well pad clearing, drilling operations, fracking crew deployment and completions with new data collected approximately every 2 days. Additionally, it cuts down activity reporting lag times by at least 98%, from 120-180 days down to just 5-8 days. In order to access reports, charts, tables, and mapping visualizations via Rextag’s Energy DataLink use a web-based application allowing users to filter, download and identify activity on a map or data table. Moreover, customers will be able to set up daily, weekly, and monthly email report notifications.

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The EIA forecasts that total output in the main U.S. shale oil basins will increase 142,000 bbl/d to 8.761 million bbl/d in June, the most since March 2020. Oil productivity in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is supposed to go up 88,000 bbl/d to a record 5.219 million bbl/d in June, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced in its report on May 16. In the largest shale gas basin, the productivity in Appalachia in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia will grow up to 35.7 Bcf/d in June, its highest since beating a record 36 Bcf/d in December 2021. Gas output in the Permian Basin and the Haynesville in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas will rise to record highs of 20 Bcf/d and 15.1 Bcf/d in June, respectively. Speaking of the Permian future output, putting hands on upcoming changes in production has recently been made easier with the new Rextag's service - Pad Activity Monitor. Thanks to satellite imagery and artificial intelligence, customers are able to monitor the oil and gas wells and are provided with near real-time activity reports related to drilling operations. However, it is noticed that productivity in the largest oil and gas basins has decreased every month since setting records of new oil well production per rig of 1,544 bbl/d in December 2020 in the Permian Basin, and new gas well production per rig of 33.3 MMcf/d in March 2021 in Appalachia.

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No sooner had the crude prices soared above $100/bbl than the industry professionals believed in an incredible growth of drilling activity in North America’s largest shale patch. Analysts speculate that additional output of 500,000 barrels of oil daily would become a significant part (4%) of overall U.S. daily production. That is going to flatter oil and gasoline prices. Drilling permits in the Permian Basin are persistently growing, averaging approximately 210 at the beginning of April. Moreover, the permits trend is noticed as an all-time high as a total of 904 horizontal drilling permits were awarded last month. Nowadays, learning and analysing the current situation and predicting the future development become easier with early activity tracking, a new service recently launched by Rextag. Rextag's Pad Activity monitor (PAM) allows you to see well pad clearing, drilling operations, fracking crew deployment and completions with new data collected approximately every 2 days with the help of satellite imagery and artificial intelligence. While the increase in drilling will result in higher production, U.S. shale producers will have to overcome several hurdles including labor shortages and supply constraints.

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