PITTSBURGH—Steve Schlotterbeck assumed the CEO title at EQT Corp. (NYSE: EQT) and its two publicly traded midstream companies on March 1, and since has wasted no time in his new role.

With Schlotterbeck at the helm, EQT announced June 19 it will pay $8.2 billion in cash, stock and assumed debt to acquire Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) in a transaction that consolidates the Appalachian Basin E&Ps into the largest U.S. natural gas producer.

Schlotterbeck succeeded David L. Porges as EQT’s CEO after serving as the Pittsburgh-based company’s president since December 2015. Porges, who retired in March, remains on the board for one year.

The deal, which is targeting a close in the fourth quarter, catapults EQT into the top ranks. EQT will average daily production of about 3.6 billion cubic feet per day (cf/d)—outrunning ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), BP Plc (NYSE: BP) or its independent E&P peers.

RELATED: EQT, Rice Energy $8.2 Billion Merger Creates Northeast Gas Giant

Hart Energy met with Schlotterbeck the day after the deal was unveiled, while editors were attending Hart Energy’s annual DUG East Conference in Pittsburgh. EQT now has “a cool million acres,” and while a lofty number wasn’t the goal, Schlotterbeck admits it sounds nice to say. It’s a round number.

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