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Onshore Operator EP Energy Launches IPO

EP Energy LLC, a privately held explorer formed from spun-off assets of the former El Paso Corp., launched Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

El Paso, now owned by Kinder Morgan Inc., in 2011 spun off its exploration and production (E&P) business, which then was taken private in 2012 for close to $7.5 billion by parties that included Apollo Global Management LLC and Riverstone Holdings LLC (see Shale Daily, Feb. 28, 2012).

Up to 35.2 million shares were anticipated to be sold through the initial public offering (IPO) beginning Friday at $20.00 each, which could net more than $700 million. However, the sale is down from initial projections, which several months ago had been to sell as many as 40 million shares for $23-27.00.

At the midpoint of its original expected offering (about $25.00/share), EP was to command a market value of $6.2 billion. At midday Friday EP was trading at around $19.30/share.

Part of the reason for the lower offering are the fewer proved reserves that EP has from a year ago. In June it sold about 466 Bcf of proved natural gas-rich reserves in the Raton Basin and Black Warrior Basin to a unit of Atlas Energy LP for $733 million (see Shale Daily, June 11, 2013). It also has sold some Oklahoma properties for about $500 million, which, when combined with the Atlas sale, reduced its reserves base by around 1 Tcfe.

However, the portfolio is a solid mix of liquids, according to EP. It has close to 450,000 net acres that hold 452 million boe of reserves. Most of the leases are in shale plays that include the Eagle Ford, Altamont, Wolfcamp and in Louisiana's Haynesville.

For the one-year period ending Sept. 30, EP said it booked $1.8 billion in sales. The new public company will trade under "EPE." Management plans to use the proceeds from the IPO, scheduled to close within the next few days, to repay debt.

EP, which filed for the IPO in September, joins a growing list of explorers and related energy service companies to go public over the past year, led most dramatically by Antero Resources Inc., whose offering topped the charts closing last October at $52.01 on its first day of trading (see Daily GPI, Oct. 11, 2013).

Appalachian explorer Rice Energy Inc. is preparing an IPO (see Shale Daily, Jan. 13). Energy-related IPOs also in the works include one by RSP Permian, also an E&P, which plans to raise about $400 million through a public offering of 20 million shares; it has 52 million boe of proved reserves in the Permian Basin of Texas.

CHC Group, one of the dominant helicopter operators for the offshore industry, has set terms for a $500 million IPO to sell more than 29 million shares. Cypress Energy Partners LP, which provides environmental and inspection services to the industry, also has launched its fourth energy-related transaction, seeking $75 million for around 3.8 million shares.

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