If you’re one who happens to find sheer bliss deciphering oil and gas earnings reports, you know the signs were clearer than Windex-ed glass that Pa.-based EQT planned to welcome back home the business unit it spun off little more than six years ago. The nation’s largest natural gas producer, operating in the nation’s largest natural gas basin, will acquire Equitrans Midstream Corporation to create the nation’s only large-scale, vertically integrated natural gas company.

Reese Energy Consulting today is following the latest on this reunion with EQT’s all-stock $5.2 billion acquisition that will value the company at $35 billion. Equitrans, host of The Mountain Valley Pipeline Show, hinted in its 4Q 2023 report late last month that interested third parties had come courting with merger love in mind. This, on news the 303-mile MVP—which will flow 1.2 BCFD of Marcellus/Utica gas to Mid-Atlantic and Southeast markets—is now slated to go live in June after years of red-tape delays. Remember, shovel broke dirt on MVP in 2018. The same year EQT set Equitrans free when natural gas prices averaged $3.12 per MMBtu, jumping to highs of $128.39 per MMBtu in the Mid-Atlantic.

Now, skip ahead a half-dozen years as gas prices plead for mercy amid oversupply, Gulf Coast LNG thirst, and booming power demand from AI data centers. What’s the largest gas producer to do to fuel a growth strategy? If you’re EQT, you start buying up all 1.2 BCFD of MVP pipeline capacity as it did last October, shedding debt by selling non-core assets, and cutting production to help stimulate prices. And then, you start humming a Willie Nelson tune with the purchase of the pipeline gal that will take you to all the dances in your playbook.