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Tuesday February 27, 2024

Occidental buys CrownRock for $12bn

By News Desk
December 12, 2023

New York: Occidental Petroleum has agreed to acquire CrownRock, one of the most sought-after US private shale oil producers, in a deal valued at about $12bn, including debt.

The Houston-based company backed by Warren Buffett beat competition from rival bidders that had also tried to snap up CrownRock’s shale assets.

The deal is the latest in a series of transactions in the oil and gas sector as large energy companies seek to capitalise on their strong balance sheets and equity value to buy smaller rival assets.

In this photo illustration, an Oxy (Occidental Petroleum Corporation) logo can be seen displayed on a smartphone and a PC screen. — SOPA

In this photo illustration, an Oxy (Occidental Petroleum Corporation) logo can be seen displayed on a smartphone and a PC screen. — SOPA 

This year, ExxonMobil announced a $60bn deal to buy shale driller Pioneer Natural Resources, a move that was followed swiftly by Chevron taking over Hess for $53bn.

Occidental’s most recent major transaction was criticised for being poorly timed after it took on huge debt to buy Anadarko Petroleum for $57bn in 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic caused oil prices to plunge to near zero.

But a rebound in oil prices has enabled Oxy to pay down debt and driven a surge in its share price, which helped the company’s chief executive, Vicki Hollub, fend off an activist investor attack from Carl Icahn.

Oxy said it would fund the CrownRock acquisition with a combination of cash and shares and intended to take on $9.1bn of new debt.

A successful takeover of CrownRock would cement Oxy’s position as the second-largest player in the prolific Permian Basin in the US south-west, where it produced 968,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in August, according to consultancy Rystad Energy. Exxon’s deal with Pioneer, the Permian’s top producer, would put the combined group in the top spot. —News Des