Okla. City-based gas producers Gulfport Energy and Ascent Resources have a lot in common. So much so, reports suggest, the two may be headed down the aisle in an all-stock coupling valued at $8 billion.

Reese Energy Consulting today is following the latest buzz surrounding publicly traded Gulfport and privately held Ascent, both of which operate large positions in the Utica. Gulfport produces about 1 BCFED, 90% gas, in the Utica’s dry counties while Ascent produces 2 BCFED, 91% gas, in Ohio’s wetter counties. Analysts are weighing in positive on the potential for another public-private combo in Appalachia. Here’s why.

Gulfport last May emerged from bankruptcy, making sweeping leadership changes that included a new board, CEO, and CFO. The company’s share prices, however, have suffered. A reverse merger would create a larger-scale, lower-cost Appalachia gas player while allowing Ascent to have publicly traded stock without the time and expense of an IPO.

Gulfport operates 193,000 net acres in eastern Ohio along with 73,000 net acres in the Anadarko’s SCOOP. Ascent holds 337,000 net acres, including 73,000 mineral acres, in Ohio’s southern Utica.