Energy Business

QEP Resources Begins Process to Shed Midstream Business

Oil pipeline
Source: Thinkstock
Independent oil and gas company QEP Resources Inc. (NYSE: QEP) announced Thursday morning that the company has added two new members to its board of directors, it is preparing to file documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to separate its midstream business from the rest of the company, it is beginning to sell its non-core mid-continent upstream assets and it is authorizing a $500 million share buyback program to return capital to shareholders.

The announcement follows from an early December decision forced by activist investor firm Jana Partners, which had urged the separation in a November letter to QEP.

Although QEP Resources does not say how it will affect the separation of QEP Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: QEPM), it seems pretty likely that an initial public offering of QEP Midstream is on its way. In December, analysts at Sterne Agee noted that there is a lot of room for growth in the midstream limited partnership, where incentive distribution rights kick in after a distribution of $0.2875 to limited partners. In the third quarter, the partnership distributed just $0.13, leaving a lot of room for growth. At that time, Sterne Agee put a price target of $39 on QEP Resources’ shares.

QEP Resources expects to begin marketing its assets in the Granite Wash and Cana Woodford plays next month and to complete the sales by July. The $500 million share buyback is subject to a number of factors, including market conditions. QEP Resources currently has about 179 million shares of common stock outstanding.

Shares of QEP were up more than 3.5% in early trading Tuesday, at $32.12 in a 52-week range of $26.24 to $34.24.

QEPM shares were inactive, after closing Wednesday night at $23.26 in a 52-week range of $21.51 to $24.07.

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