Two deals in the Northeast highlight the week. Eclipse Resources and Blue Ridge Mountain Resources have agreed to merge in an all-stock transaction set to create one of the largest Utica-focused operators. As part of the merger agreement, Blue Ridge stockholders will receive 4.4 shares of State College, Pa.-based Eclipse’s common stock for each share of Blue Ridge stock. Mike Kelly, senior analyst with Seaport Global Securities, pinned the price tag for the combination at $345 million given Blue Ridge Mountain’s $40 million net cash position. 

Another state college-based company, Rex Energy will be purchased by fellow Appalachiashale player PennEnergy Resources for $600.5 million. PennEnergy will acquire substantially all of Rex’s assets plus assume certain liabilities of the company which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Papua New Guinea-based Oil Search said it believes there’s even more oil to be had in the Nanushuk play.  You may remember that last year Spain’s Repsol and partner, Armstrong Energy have extended their horseshoe play there and boosted the combined resource potential to at least 500 million barrels of oil. but Oil Search’s Managing Director Peter Botten, which this year acquired a stake in the discovery said while delivering the company’s first-half results, his company is targeting an additional 250 million barrel potential under its drilling program.

Williams’ representatives said anticipated full service for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Expansion is now Sept. 10. Hart Energy toured the construction site in southern Lancaster County in Pennsylvania as the finishing touches were being added near its connection to the Transco Pipeline.

We’re watching the developments from the bilateral NAFTA replacement talks between the United States and Mexico as Canada enters the dialogue. How will the U.S. upstream and midstream sectors be affected? Most analysts say it’s too early to tell as most to the tentative deal has thus far been focused on the automotive sector. We will keep an eye on this development. 

Finally, the winning streak continues offshore Guyana for Exxon Mobil. A ninth discovery in the Exxon-led explorationeffort has ushered in a new play concept for potential development.