Unitholders of Rice Midstream Partners LP (RMP) have overwhelmingly approved a merger with EQT Midstream Partners LP (EQM) in the final step to combine the companies.

The merger, part of EQT Corp.’s broader plan to simplify its corporate structure and separate the midstream and upstream segments after the company acquired Rice Energy Inc. for $8 billion last year, is now expected to close on Monday (July 23).

EQT said in February that the new company would have a 246,000 acre dedication in the core of the Marcellus Shale and a 166,000 acre dedication in the Utica Shale of Ohio, making it the third largest natural gas gatherer in the country. 

At a special meeting on Friday, 81.8% of RMP’s outstanding common units were voted, with 99.9% of those votes cast in favor of the merger, EQM said.

The merger is one of several steps EQT is taking to split its midstream and upstream businesses, which require myriad regulatory approvals as well. The new company would consist of EQM and RMP assets, along with the midstream assets retained by EQT that will be dropped to EQM. EQM would operate the assets and remain a publicly traded company.

EQT added more than 200,000 acres and the trove of associated midstream assets in its blockbuster deal to acquire Rice. Through several more unrelated transactions in 2017, EQT became the nation’s largest natural gas producer. It currently produces about 4 Bcfe/d.