PITTSBURGH — EQT Corp. announced Monday it will acquire Rice Energy Inc. for $6.7 billion in a deal EQT said will make the company the largest natural gas producer in the United States.

The deal includes acquiring Rice Energy’s core and undeveloped assets, including those at the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

“This transaction brings together two of the top Marcellus and Utica producers to form a natural gas operating position that will be unmatched in the industry,” said Steve Schlotterbeck, EQT president and chief executive officer. “Rice has built an outstanding company with an acreage footprint that is largely contiguous to our existing acreage, which will provide substantial synergies and make this transaction significantly accretive in the first year.”

After the transaction is complete, EQT’s average sales volume will increase from 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to 3.6 billion cubic feet.

EQT has three established offices in West Virginia. Rice Energy operates in Pennsylvania and Ohio, controlling around 176,000 net acres in southwestern Pennsylvania and 59,000 in southeastern Ohio.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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