Just the Two of Us - Midstreamers Joining Forces to Optimize Gathering and Processing

The U.S. oil and gas industry’s upstream sector has seen more than its share of mergers and acquisitions in the year and a half since COVID-19 put energy markets on a wild roller coaster. ConocoPhillips buying Concho Resources and then Shell’s Permian assets. Chevron snapping up Noble Energy. Pioneer Natural Resources acquiring Parsley Energy. And yesterday’s big news: Continental Resources’ planned purchase of Pioneer’s assets in the Permian’s Delaware Basin. It’s not just hydrocarbon producers that are consolidating and expanding, however. There’s also been a flurry of large-scale M&A activity in the midstream sector, mostly involving oil and gas gatherers in the Permian and the Bakken — the nation’s two largest crude oil-focused basins. What’s driving these combinations? In today’s RBN blog, we begin a review of recent, major pipeline-company combinations and the benefits participants expect to realize from them.

As we said a few months ago in We Belong Together, massive energy-industry dislocations caused by the pandemic forced every upstream, midstream, and downstream player to consider what it all meant for them and what they could and should do to weather the storm. A common theme emerged: management needed to delay or even jettison their plans for growth and instead focus on efficiency by cutting costs, seeking out opportunities to streamline and optimize their operations, and working to maximize the revenue from every molecule. In that blog, we discussed a prime example of this push for efficiency: the plan by Plains All American and Oryx Midstream to contribute assets to a new, Plains-operated crude oil pipeline joint venture in the heart of the Permian’s Delaware Basin.

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