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Devon & WPX Energy Eyeing Permian Dominance Through Merger

Jewel Saha
·4 mins read

Devon Energy Corporation DVN and WPX Energy WPX have decided to merge in a bid to strengthen their position in the Permian Basin. Per the agreement, WPX Energy’s shareholders will get 0.5165 shares of Devon common stock for each share of WPX common stock owned. The enterprise value of the combined entity will be nearly $12 billion, taking into consideration the closing price of Devon and WPX Energy on Sep 25, 2020.

The deal appears to be logical, as both these players have high-quality assets in close proximity. Moreover, both these companies have a focus on developing oil-rich U.S. assets. WPX Energy has gradually transformed itself into an oil-focused company from a natural gas-focused one. Devon, through the divestiture of Canadian assets and Barnett Shale gas assets sale, will focus on four oil-rich U.S. basins.

Upon completion of the deal, Devon’s shareholders will own 53% of the combined company and the rest will be owned by WPX Energy’s shareholders. This acquisition will be accretive to the combined company’s earnings and cash flow, and enable it to achieve cost savings that will drive $575 million in annual cash flow improvements by year-end 2021.

Both Devon Energy and WPX Energy are currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Permian Basin’s Strong Contribution to U.S. Production

Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”), crude oil production in the United States increased to 10.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in August from the low of 10 million b/d in May. EIA expects production to rise to 11.2 million b/d in September, with resumption of production in the Gulf of Mexico. EIA forecasts Permian Basin September crude oil production to be 4.15 million barrels per day and further increase to 4.17 million b/d in October.

From the above forecasts, it is evident that nearly 1/3rd of the U.S. crude oil is currently produced from the Permian Basin. The rich deposits in the region make it attractive to oil and gas operators, in turn leading to mergers and acquisitions. Occidental Petroleum OXY expanded reach in this region by acquiring Anadarko and outbidding Chevron Corporation CVX in the process.

More Deals in Permian?

Per EIA, at 2018-end, proved crude oil reserves at the Permian Basin were 11,096 million barrels, up from 8,319 million barrels at end of 2017. No doubt, this strong reserve addition will attract oil and gas operators to consolidate in the region. Recently, Chevron entered into an all-stock agreement to acquire Noble Energy NBL for expanding its operations in Permian Basin. Due to prolific hydrocarbon reserves and low breakeven cost, oil and gas operators are trying to expand presence in this region either through mergers or purchase of acreage.

The demand for oil is also expected to recover globally and in the United States as the process of unlocking of activities has started. So, more deals are likely to be seen in this Permian Basin region, which can challenge Occidental’s dominant position in the region post the Anadarko acquisition.

Price Performance

The market has reacted positively to the merger decision. DVN Energy and WPX Energy gained 11.35% and 11.36% respectively before trading at the time of writing this report.

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Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Chevron Corporation (CVX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Devon Energy Corporation (DVN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
WPX Energy, Inc. (WPX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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