As antitrust scrutiny delays other oil and gas deals, Chord Energy’s $4 billion cash-and-stock deal to buy Enerplus Corp. has cleared a regulatory waiting period for the Williston Basin combination, the companies said April 8.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped up reviews of upstream oil and gas transactions since last year. Most recently, on April 5, the FTC requested additional information on the $7.4 billion merger of Chesapeake Energy and Southwestern Energy. The request is likely to delay the closing of the deal by months.

FTC requests for additional information have also effectively delayed deals between Chevron and Hess Corp. related to their $53 billion merger, as well as Exxon Mobil’s $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources.

Chord and Enerplus said the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 expired April 5. The expiration of the waiting period under the act satisfies one of the conditions to the closing of the previously announced combination between Chord and Enerplus.

The transaction is expected to close in second-quarter 2024, subject to satisfaction of certain closing conditions.

Chord anticipates that by April 9 it will issue a definitive proxy statement related to a special meeting of Chord stockholders, who will consider and vote upon the issuance of shares of Chord common stock for the deal. Chord is also asking shareholders to amend its charter to double the number of authorized shares of Chord common stock from 120 million shares to 240 million shares.

The close of business on April 8 is the record date for Chord stockholders entitled to vote at the special meeting, and the special meeting is scheduled for May 14.

Enerplus’ shareholders will likely consider and receive information about the deal in late April 2024 in advance of the shareholder meeting anticipated to be held in late May 2024.

Chord has said the combined company would become a premier operator in the Williston with 1.3 million net acres and a combined production of 287,000 boe/d, including about 100,000 boe/d from Enerplus. Crude oil is expected to be 56% of the combined company's production.