In Venezuela, opposition leader Juan Guaidó swore himself in as president of the country and was immediately recognized by the U.S. and several Latin American countries. President Nicolás Maduro showed no sign of stepping aside. What’s the impact on oil markets? As Hart Energy’s Joe Markman reports in this week’s frac spread, a stalemate could result in U.S. sanctions against Venezuela that will deprive gulf coast refineries of affordable heavy crude. The long-term scenario could be much brighter, with a stable government led by Guaidó enjoying friendly relations throughout the hemisphere and the likelihood of restoring much of the 67% of oil production lost since Hugo Chávez took power in 1999. That could lead to lucrative opportunities for U.S.companies to assist in rebuilding Venezuela’s energy infrastructure.

With the $735 million Haynesville shale divestiture closed, QEP Resources has engaged Evercore to explore a sales process following a surprise takeover bid by activist investor Elliott Management in early January. Elliott’s takeover offer of $2 billion to $2.5 billion was premised on QEP’s Permian Basin assets being undervalued.

EQT is making fundamental changes, the company’s CEO told analysts this week. Instead of being driven by volume targets, capital efficiency will take the lead. EQT’s focus in 2019 will include “not trying to jump through hoops to get to volume targets and importantly also being realistic about lateral lengths,” new CEO Rob McNally said. The company shared insight on its 2019 spending plans amid a potential activist campaign from shareholders that include founders of Rice Energy, which EQT merged with roughly a year ago.

We want to remind you that we will soon be combining our four websites into one with the launch of the new Coming February 4th. For more information go to We will also launch a new program called Hart Energy Connect where we will be taking a closer look at the energy industry trends and issues with the help of who knows best, the top executives and analysts in the business. Look for Hart Energy Connect every Tuesday through Friday starting in February.