HEADLINES: Ballot Battle Duds; Williston’s New Player

The midterm election has come and gone and voters in three states rejected ballot initiatives that sought to curb oil and gas usage. As we told you last week, the industry had been prepping for the possible passage of Colorado’s Prop 112, which sought to put setbacks at 2,500 ft. But there will be no need to make new plans, as of now, as the measure only received 43% of the vote

Hart Energy spoke to several industry executives and analysts about the results while at the Executive Oil Conference in Midland, Texas, this week, including Reed Olmstead of IHS Markit who said if the measure had passed it would have been crippling for Colorado’s oil and gas industry.

We also heard from Chad McAllaster of Anadarko Petroleum, which would have seen much of its operation in the Denver-Julesburg (D-J) Basin suddenly off-limits. Shares in Anadarko jumped 6% on Nov. 7 following the election, while fellow D-J Basin operator Nobel Energy gained 5%.

In Washington state, a ballot measure which would have imposed the nation's first carbon tax—mostly at the expense of the state's oil refiners—garnered only 44% of the vote. And in Arizona, voters defeated a proposal backed by billionaire activist Thomas Steyer that would have required electricity providers to use renewable energy for half of their needs by 2030, up from the current 15%.

In A&D news, blank-check company Vantage Energy Acquisition has landed on the Williston Basin with an acquisition of QEP Resources’ foothold in the play for up to $1.7 billion in cash and stock. The acquired assets consist of more than 100,000 net acres in the core of the Bakken and are currently producing at the rate of 46,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. As as a result, the transaction will create a large-scale, pure-play Williston Basin operator named Vantage Energy Inc. that will be led by industry veteran Robert Biemans as chairman, president and CEO.

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