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Oil, gas deal tracker: Big midstream move shakes up list of top M&A in 2019

Energy Transfer LP's proposed $5 billion acquisition of midstream crude oil operator SemGroup Corp. was the biggest M&A deal announced in September across the oil and gas industry, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, and it joins the list of the biggest deals of 2019.

The third quarter saw the oil and gas sector announce the same number of whole company and minority stake deals compared to the second quarter of 2019. The combined value of those deals fell from $85.8 billion to $26.9 billion, however. The aggregate value of announced asset transactions declined to $15.8 billion from $30.8 billion in the same period.

According to the data, the number of company deals and asset sales reached their lowest point in more than 18 financial quarters. Low commodities prices and an uneven outlook have likely held back some transactions.

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There was no shortage of interest in SemGroup, however. Energy Transfer's bid to buy SemGroup at a 65% premium, or $17 per share, beat out proposals from about 10 other suitors that included both public and private energy infrastructure companies. Energy Transfer made its initial bid in July for $15.56 per share and pursued an aggressive strategy because it particularly wanted to acquire SemGroup's Houston Fuel Oil Terminal on the Houston Ship Channel, which has 18.2 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity and is underpinned by take-or-pay contracts, according to an Oct. 3 SEC filing.

The largest oil and gas asset deal announced in September was Exxon Mobil Corp.'s planned sale of nonoperated assets in Norway to Eni SpA subsidiary Vår Energi AS for $4.5 billion that will jump-start the major's plan to divest $15 billion by 2021.

"The sale is not a major surprise, it was already known that Exxon was contemplating such a transaction. This merely makes it the latest of several majors to either scale back activity in the region or completely exit it altogether," Raymond James analyst Muhammed Ghulam said in a Sept. 27 email.

NextEra Energy Partners LP's proposed $1.3 billion acquisition of Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and AltaGas Ltd.'s stakes in a company that owns 39% of the Central Penn line was the second-biggest industry-wide asset deal announced during September. Central Penn is the greenfield pipeline segment of the Williams Cos. Inc.-led Atlantic Sunrise natural gas transportation project, which began full commercial service in 2018.

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Those September announcements capped off a third quarter that also included Callon Petroleum Co.'s proposed $3.2 billion merger with Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc., which is expected to close during the fourth quarter, and Blackstone Group Inc.'s offer to buy out pipeline operator Tallgrass Energy LP that has raised corporate governance concerns among investors and industry experts.