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Antero Resources Sets Terms for MLP IPO

Appalachian heavyweight Antero Resources Corp. on Monday announced the terms of its midstream master limited partnership (MLP), revealing that it would offer investors and underwriters more than 43 million units, which would earn it nearly $1 billion at the high end of its $19-21 offering. 

Antero Midstream Partners LP would be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AM." The company did not announce a launch date for the initial public offering (IPO) on Monday, but said it would offer 37.5 million common units to investors and grant the IPO's underwriters a 30-day option to purchase an additional 5.6 million common units.

Terms of the MLP, which would essentially own all of the company's midstream assets, come months after Antero management indicated in January that it wanted to spin-off the unit this year (see Shale DailyJan. 30). Antero, which filed its registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in February, before amendments sought to raise up to $500 million (see Shale DailyFeb. 7).

But the company's production has been growing steadily. In the second quarter it surpassed 1 Bcfe/d of production in its core areas of operation in Ohio and West Virginia (see Shale DailyJuly 18). Just 131,000 net Marcellus Shale acres will be dedicated to third-party gathering and compression, leaving the MLP to handle those services for Antero's remaining 3,159 drilling locations across a 370,000 net acre footprint in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Antero is currently one of the basin's most active operators, running 22 rigs in both plays. At present, the MLP's combined assets handle 417 MMcfe/d of throughput, according to Antero's registration statement. By the end of the year, Antero anticipates growing its gathering systems in the Marcellus and Utica to a combined 285 miles and enhancing its compression capacity to 370 MMcf/d.

Antero Midstream also anticipates that it will have an option to purchase the company's fresh water distribution systems, which consist of buried pipelines, portable surface pipelines and fresh water storage, in addition to possible equity interests in major pipeline projects such as the 800-mile ET Rover, which is expected to be fully operational by 2017 (see Shale DailyJune 26).

Common units being offered in the MLP represent a 28.4% interest if the underwriters exercise their purchasing options. Antero and its affiliates will own the remaining 71.6% under that scenario. Subsidiary Antero Midstream Management LLC will serve as the MLP's general partner.  

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