Both companies faced financial challenges.
Eclipse Resources Corp., a Wall Street star when it IPOed in 2014, made headlines with its successful drilling of super laterals in the Utica Shale, exceeding 19,000 feet last year. Yet it struggled from a persistent depressed share price—having fallen by 94% in the four years after going public—as public markets abandoned the oil and gas space, and particularly gassy names. As the stock continued to plunge, earlier this year the New York Stock Exchange put the company on notice of delisting.
Blue Ridge Mountain Resources Inc. was the resurrection of Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., another Marcellus/Utica operator that emerged from bankruptcy in January 2017 with new management and a new name. John Reinhart, coming out of Appalachian start-up Ascent Resources, took over the CEO role. During the next two years he would sell off Bakken assets and others to core up as a Utica and Marcellus pure player and further knock down debt.
The two companies found their match where their acreage touched in Ohio. Eclipse and Blue Ridge closed their combination in February, forming Montage Resources Corp. The majority of the surviving management team came from Blue Ridge, with Reinhart as CEO. Making the integration easier, five out of six of Montage’s new management team worked together previously at Chesapeake Energy Corp. in its Appalachia division.
Oil and Gas Investor spoke with Reinhart regarding his plans for Montage.