There is a major merger between two of the nation's biggest natural gas producers. Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy and Texas-based Southwestern Energy are combining to create a $24 billion enterprise. The deal, announced today, includes plans to build a facility in Houston that will export liquefied natural gas. And it's the latest in a string of high-profile moves in the energy sector.
The company said the strategic combination will create a premier energy company underpinned by a leading natural gas portfolio adjacent to the highest demand markets, premium inventory, resilient free cash flow, and an Investment Grade quality balance sheet. Officials said the combined company, which will assume a new name at closing, will be uniquely positioned to deliver affordable, lower carbon energy to meet growing domestic and international demand with significant, sustainable cash returns to shareholders through cycles.
"This powerful combination redefines the natural gas producer, forming the first U.S. based independent that can truly compete on an international scale. The union creates a deep inventory of advantaged assets adjacent to high demand markets, allowing for the application of proven operational practices and the power of an Investment Grade quality balance sheet to drive significant synergies benefiting energy consumers and shareholders alike," said Nick Dell'Osso, Chesapeake's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The world is short energy and demand for our products is growing, both in the U.S. and overseas. We will be positioned to deliver more natural gas at a lower cost, accelerating America's energy reach and fueling a more affordable, reliable, and lower carbon future. I look forward to leading the talented workforce of the combined organization to accelerate the long-term value opportunity for our shareholders, employees, and all stakeholders."
Southwestern President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Way added, "I want to thank the entire Southwestern team for positioning the company to be part of this transformational combination. Together, Southwestern and Chesapeake can drive improved margins and returns from our highly complementary portfolios through enhanced scale, capital allocation flexibility, and access to premium markets to supply growing global natural gas demand. Most importantly, both sets of shareholders are able to participate in the substantial value creation and future growth opportunities of the combined company, with one of the top shareholder return frameworks in the sector."
Both Exxon Mobil and Chevron recently made multi-billion dollar deals to buy up assets.