Devon Energy and Crosstex Energy, two big players in the Barnett Shale and other U.S. oil and gas fields, said Monday that they will combine their pipelines and processing plants in a new venture.Under the deal, the new as-yet-unnamed enterprise will acquire all the shares of Dallas-based Crosstex and an affiliate, Crosstex Energy L.P. Crosstex CEO Barry Davis will be CEO of the new company, which will be based in Dallas.Shares in Crosstex Energy (ticker: XTXI) leaped 71.5 percent in heavy trading, and shares in Crosstex Energy L.P. (ticker: XTEX) rose 33 percent. Devon, which will own a majority of the new enterprise, saw its shares rise 3.3 percent.Devon is the largest producer in the Barnett Shale, where its operations include a recently expanded natural gas processing plant in Bridgeport that the company describes as one of the largest in the U.S. It employs about 450 people in Bridgeport, its regional headquarters, but fewer than half will be affected by the merger, a spokesman said.Devon has wanted for years to move its midstream assets into a master limited partnership. Master limited partnerships pass most of their earnings to investors, and pipelines are attractive for MLPs because they tend to generate steady income.The new company will have two publicly traded components — a master limited partnership and a general partner. That’s the same basic design the Crosstex companies have today.Besides the Barnett, affected properties are in the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Utica, Haynesville and other shale fields. The new company will have about 7,300 miles of gathering lines and transportation pipelines, 13 processing plants, six fractionation plants (which divide natural gas liquids into ethane, propane and other components), and other storage and transportation facilities.
Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay