One day after announcing it would offer 51 million shares of common stock, Columbia Pipeline Group. Inc. (CPGX) hit the gas Wednesday and said it was expanding the offering to 71.5 million shares, a move that appears meant to allay financial analysts’ doubts that the company can fund billions of midstream investments in 2016.

Houston-based CPGX said the offering was being increased “due to strong demand,” and added that the price of the stock was being raised to $17.50/share, a price that, if realized, would bring in more than $1.25 billion. Under the new offering arrangement, CPGX said it was also granting the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 10.725 million additional shares of common stock.

The company said it planned to use the net proceeds from the offering “to fully fund, directly or indirectly, the 2016 cash capital expenditure [capex] requirements of itself and its subsidiaries, which may include making investments in, or other funding arrangements with, Columbia Pipeline Partners LP [CPPL].” CPGX will also have cash flow from its operations and available borrowings under its revolving credit facilities to fund capex in 2016.

The offering, which is subject to certain closing conditions, is expected to close on Monday.

Last month, during CPGX’s presentation for the third quarter — its first as a publicly-traded company — financial analysts expressed concerns that the company and CPPL, its midstream master limited partnership (MLP), would have enough capital to fund more than a dozen projects. Those projects, which include liquefied natural gas, midstream and interstate pipelines, are expected to cost more than $13 billion over the next five years (see Daily GPI, Nov. 3; May 14).

Back by one of the nation’s largest utility companies, NiSource Inc., CPPL was spun off from CPGX in early February. An initial public offering (IPO) for the MLP raised about $1.1 billion after the sale of 46.8 million common units, shattering records and making it the largest IPO in history (see Shale Daily, Feb. 9). CPGX and Merrillville, IN-based NiSource completed their separation into two publicly-traded companies on July 1 (see Daily GPI, July 2).

Shares of CPGX were trading at $19.01 (down 78 cents, a decline of 3.94%) in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.