U.S. gas producer EQT nears $5.2 bln deal to buy THQ Appalachia -sources

Sept 5 (Reuters) - EQT Corp (EQT.N), the largest dedicated producer of U.S. natural gas, is in advanced talks to acquire peer THQ Appalachia I LLC and associated pipeline infrastructure for around $5.2 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The deal comes as EQT's shares hover close to seven-year highs. The company has benefited from soaring natural gas prices in global markets in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, emboldening it to pursue acquisitions. read more

If the negotiations conclude successfully, EQT may announce an agreement with the owners of THQ Appalachia as early as this week, the sources said, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.

EQT shares were down 1.1% at $46.77 in early afternoon trading in New York on Tuesday.

EQT declined to comment, while THQ Appalachia representatives did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News reported first reported on the deal on Sunday.

THQ Appalachia operates in Marshall and Wetzel counties in West Virginia and has net production of around 760 million cubic feet per day. It is owned by privately held natural gas producer Tug Hill Operating and investment firm Quantum Energy Partners.

The deal with EQT will include XcL Midstream, a pipeline operator that moves THQ Appalachia's gas to market and is led by Tug Hill Chief Executive Michael Radler, the sources said.

Reuters reported in June that the owners of THQ Appalachia and XcL Midstream were exploring a sale. read more

Last year, EQT, which has a market capitalization of $17.5 billion, acquired another privately owned natural gas producer, Alta Resources, for $2.9 billion, including debt.

Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Stephen Coates and Jonathan Oatis

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