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Diversified Energy to keep growing U.S. natgas output by acquisitions -CEO

2 minute read

May 13 (Reuters) - Diversified Energy Co's (DEC.L) chief executive expects the natural gas production company to keep growing through U.S. acquisitions, he told Reuters.

"I think the size of the company will grow substantially over the next several months," CEO Rusty Hutson said.

UK-listed Diversified, which this month changed its name from Diversified Gas & Oil, in April agreed to spend $135 million to buy gas and natural gas liquids production in Cotton Valley, located mostly in Louisiana, from Indigo Minerals.

Previously, almost all of Diversified's activity was in Appalachia in the U.S. Northeast.

"It’s a big step out for us," said Hutson, noting "We see that as a big area for us ... that will present us with a lot of opportunities to (repeat and even) surpass what we’ve done in Appalachia."

Hutson said the company's new Central region, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas, is closer to the U.S. Gulf Coast where demand for gas from industrial customers and liquefied natural gas exporters is growing fast.

Diversified is on track to produce about 0.7 billion cubic feet of gas equivalent per day (bcfed), including the roughly 0.1 bcfed Cotton Valley acquisition.

"I see us breaking 1.0 (bcfed) before the end of the year," Hutson said, noting the company is looking to acquire more production in both the northeast and central regions.

Unlike most U.S. producers, Diversified does not drill new wells, but buys mature fields and focuses on slowing their decline rates.

The company hedges most of its production - about 90% in 2021 and over 60% in 2022 - to ensure gas sales cover the cost of operating the business, paying down debt and paying dividends.

At some point in the future, Hutson said he wants to move the company to a U.S. stock exchange.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Nick Zieminski

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