ConocoPhillips is buying shale producer Concho Resources in an all-stock deal valued at $9.7 billion, making it a major presence in the Permian Basin, the top-producing oil field in the U.S.
The combined company, if approved, would be among the largest U.S. oil producers, with production of more than 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, a resource base of approximately 23 billion barrels of oil and an enterprise value of about $60 billion.
The deal comes as many oil producers are struggling to make ends meet. Oil prices have remained low for months, mainly because efforts to contain the coronavirus halted most travel, obliterating demand for fuel. The price for a barrel of crude is down more than 30% since the start of the year, and it has been hovering around $40 a barrel, below what most producers in the U.S. need to break even.
In this year’s third quarter, 17 oil and gas producers filed for bankruptcy protection, which was a 21% increase compared to last year according to law firm Haynes and Boone.
“When we add it all up, we see an industry that will remain challenged and smaller producers are recognizing this, accepting smaller or no premiums for their companies than they had received in the past,” said PeterMcNally, global sector lead for industrials, materials and energy at Third Bridge Group.
The combination, which is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, could help the companies achieve $500 million in annual cost and capital savings by 2022. Half of that would be realized through reduced exploration costs, thanks to the additional barrels from the Concho purchase, ConocoPhillips spokesman John Roper said in an email. Another $100 million in reductions would come from duplicate general administrative costs and board positions, officers and corporate costs.