Mega oil and gas projects are back – Houston Chronicle
Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. signed an all-stock deal to acquire Rice Energy for $8.2 billion, including the assumption of $1.5 billion in debt, combining two large U.S. natural gas producers. Announced: June 19, 2017.

Calgary-based Encana Corp. purchased Fort Worth-based Athlon Energy for $6.9 billion, giving the Canadian oil producer 140,000 net acres in the Midland Basin in West Texas. Announced: Sept. 29, 2014
Denver-based Whiting Petroleum snapped up Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. in a $6 billion all-stock deal, forming the largest oil producer in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. Announced July 13, 2014.
Exxon Mobil Corp., based in Irving, Texas, agreed to buy privately held BopCo, based in Fort Worth, with an upfront payment of $5.6 billion, doubling the oil giant’s resources in the Permian Basin in New Mexico and West Texas. Announced: Jan. 17, 2017.
Houston’s Southwestern Energy bought swaths of gas-rich land in West Virginia and Pennsylvania from Chesapeake Energy, based in Oklahoma, for $5.4 billion. The deal included 413,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Announced: Oct. 10, 2014.

Fort Worth-based Range Resources acquired Memorial Resources Development Corp. in an all-stock deal worth $4.4 billion, giving the oil company a larger footprint in the Appalachian and Gulf Coast regions. Announced: May 15, 2016.

Houston’s Noble Energy bought Rosetta Resources, also based in Houston, for $3.8 billion, including the assumption of $1.8 billion in debt, marking the company’s entrance into the Eagle Ford Shale and the Permian Basin in Texas. Announced: May 11, 2015
Houston-based Noble Energy agreed to snap up Clayton Williams Energy, based in Midland, Texas, for $3.2 billion in cash and stock, including the assumption of $500 million in debt. Announced: Jan. 16, 2017.

Los Angeles, California-based Breitburn Energy bought Houston-based QR Energy LP for $3 billion. Announced: August 24, 2014.

Austin-based Parsley Energy agreed to buy oil and gas properties in the Midland Basin in West Texas from Double Eagle Energy Permian for $2.8 billion, increasing its acreage in the Permian Basin by about a third. Announced: Feb. 7, 2017.

Tulsa-based WPX Energy acquired privately held RKI Energy for $2.8 billion, including the assumption of $400 million in debt, broadening its reach in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Announced: July 3, 2015.

A unit of Houston’s Hilcorp agreed to pay $2.7 billion for assets in the San Juan Basin in the southwestern United States from Houston-based ConocoPhillips. The deal included $2.7 billion in cash and a $300 million contingent payment. Announced: April 13, 2017.

Midland, Texas-based Diamondback Energy snapped up the assets of Brigham Resources for $2.6 billion, in a deal that included leasehold interests on more than 76,000 net acres in Pecos and Reeves counties in West Texas. Announced: Dec. 13, 2016.

Oklahoma’s American Energy Partners agreed to buy West Texas assets from Denver-based Enduring Resources for $2.55 billion, including 63,000 net acres. Announced: June 9, 2014.

Houston’s EOG Resources purchased Yates Petroleum Corp., Abo Petroleum Corp. and MYCO Industries for $2.5 billion in cash and stock, giving the producer a larger footprint in the Delaware Basin in New Mexico and Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. Announced: Sept. 6, 2016.

Dallas-based RSP Permian acquired Silver Hill Energy Partners, an operator in West Texas, for $2.4 billion, giving the company acreage in the deepest part of the Delaware Basin. Announced: Oct. 13, 2016.

Houston’s Linn Energy bought gas-rich assets in the Rocky Mountains, Texas, Louisiana and several other states from Devon Energy, which is based in Oklahoma, for $2.3 billion. Announced: June 27, 2014.

Houston-based Sanchez Energy snapped up Eagle Ford Shale assets from Anadarko Petroleum, which is based in the Woodlands, for $2.3 billion, marking Anadarko’s exit from the South Texas shale play. Announced: Jan. 12, 2017.
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based gas producer Rice Energy bought Vantage Energy, a driller with 85,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale, for $2.1 billion. Announced: Sept. 26, 2016.

Anadarko Petroleum, based in the Woodlands, paid $2 billion for deep-water Gulf of Mexico assets from Freeport McMoRan Oil & Gas, doubling its stake in the Lucius deep-water project. Announced: Sept. 12, 2016.

Occidental Petroleum Corp., based in Houston, bought acreage in the Permian Basin from private sellers for $2 billion. Announced: Oct. 31, 2016.

Houston-based EnerVest and Denver-based FourPoint Energy paid a combined $1.9 billion for oil and gas properties and midstream assets from Houston’s Linn Energy. Announced: Oct. 3, 2014.

Oklahoma’s Devon Energy bought 80,000 acres in the Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma from Felix Energy for $1.9 billion. Announced: Dec. 6, 2015.

Gulfport Energy, based in Oklahoma City, purchased 46,000 net acres in Oklahoma’s SCOOP region for $1.8 billion. Announced: Dec. 13, 2016.

Houston-based Silver Run Acquisition Corp. snapped up an 89 percent stake in Centennial Resource Production, a driller with property in the Southern Delaware Basin. Announced: July 6, 2016.

Midland-based Concho Resources acquired 40,000 net acres in the Midland Basin for $1.6 billion from Reliance Energy. Announced: Aug. 15, 2016.

Denver-based SM Energy bought oil and gas assets in Howard and Martin counties in Texas for $1.6 billion from Qstar LLC. Announced: Oct. 17, 2016.  

PCD Energy, based in Denver, purchased two private companies backed by private equity firm Kimmeridge Energy Management Co. for $1.5 billion, giving it 57,000 net acres in West Texas. Announced: Aug. 23, 2016.

Oklahoma’s American Energy Partners snapped up 27,000 net acres and pipelines from East Resources, based in Florida, for $1.2 billion. Announced: June 9, 2014.

Alta Resources acquired gas assets in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania for $1.2 billion from Anadarko Petroleum Corp., based in the Woodlands. Announced: Dec. 12, 2016.

Investors are about to find out whether the world's largest oil companies have learned their lesson from $80 billion of cost blowouts in major projects during the era of $100 crude.
From liquefied natural gas in Mozambique to deep-oil in Guyana, the world's biggest energy companies are gearing up to sanction the first slate of mega-projects since the price crash in 2014, Wood Mackenzie Ltd. analysts including Angus Rodger said in a report. Firms will approve about $300 billion in spending on such ventures in 2019 and 2020, more than in the three years from 2015 to 2017 combined.
That spree will provide the first real test to the capital discipline that energy companies have vowed they adopted after oil's collapse, when they downsized their ambitions and began to complete projects on time and below budget. Before the crash, the 15 biggest oil and gas projects combined went $80 billion over budget, eating away at investor returns, Rodger said.
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"Oil companies have improved their delivery in small projects, but can they do it with bigger ones?" Rodger said in a phone interview from Singapore. "There's massive upside on the table if they can show sustained success with capital discipline as oil prices rise. They could deliver the best returns in a decade."
Cost Overshoot
Several years of oil prices in the $100s at the start of this decade emboldened companies to take on massive, complicated projects to extract as much of the valuable oil and gas as they could, Rodger said. That spurred developments like Chevron Corp.'s Gorgon LNG project on the remote Barrow Island in western Australia, where costs ballooned from an initial expected $37 billion to $54 billion.
Cost overruns on projects sanctioned from 2008 to 2014 diluted returns to 12 percent on average, compared with an expected 19 percent at the time of investment, according to Wood Mackenzie.
"Oil companies already had a history of bad project management, and then adding $100 oil to that was like pouring gasoline on a fire," Rodger said. "Costs got out of control."
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Those weak returns and plummeting oil prices that began in 2014 forced energy companies to rethink the way they spend. They started targeting smaller fields or expansions of existing projects that were cheaper and could be finished quicker. Fields sanctioned since 2014 have on average been delivered ahead of schedule and under budget, Wood Mackenzie said.
Scaling Up
 While the dearth of mega projects has helped energy prices recover, with oil and LNG returning to the highest levels since 2014 earlier this year, large investments are again needed, Rodger said. What's uncertain is whether the cost discipline energy companies enforced on smaller projects could be replicated on a much bigger scale.
For example, oilfield service providers like Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. shrunk their workforce during the downturn, leaving only the best roughnecks to work on projects. It remains to be seen if such companies will be able to deliver as efficiently as they scale up to handle new projects, Rodger said.
Oil companies will also have to avoid the temptation from rising oil and gas prices to expand the scope of projects in order to maximize production, Rodger said. Benchmark crude Brent was trading up 0.7 percent at $73.13 a barrel as of 9:09 a.m. London on Tuesday, about 44 percent higher than a year ago.
"Will they live with a lean approach and leave value in the ground, or as prices rise will they want to return to big projects," he said. "If they feel the latter way, we could see the same mistakes again."

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