Exxon acquires Permian Basin holdings from Bass family

Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, speaks during the 2015 IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston on April 21, 2015.  Bloomberg photo by F. Carter Smith.

One day after Noble Energy agreed to buy Clayton Williams Energy for $2.7 billion to expand in the Permian Basin, Exxon Mobil Corp. announced it will pay up to $6.6 billion to double its holdings in the hot play, acquiring the acreage from Fort Worth’s Bass family.

The Delaware Basin, a highly prolific, oil-rich section of the Permian Basin has seen a number of acquisitions in recent months, but the Exxon acquisition is the largest by far.

(Forbes Magazine: Outgoing Exxon boss Rex Tillerson personally negotiated the Permian deal with Fort Worth’s Sid Bass. Click here for the story.)

Earlier this week, Noble Energy purchased Clayton Williams Energy and in September EOG Resources acquired Yates Petroleum for $2.5 billion. Both companies have Permian Basis assets. The area has become so active, Halliburton announced in December it was hiring 200 workers in the Permian Basin, a shift from the cutting that has occurred among most oil field equipment companies since the price of oil began falling in 2015.

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The holdings being acquired by Exxon have an estimated resource of 3.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent in New Mexico’s Delaware Basin, a highly prolific, oil-prone section of the Permian Basin, according to an Exxon news release.

Theproperties are a major addition to ExxonMobil’s unconventional liquids portfolio managed by its subsidiary, XTO Energy Inc., said Darren W. Woods, ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive officer,

“This acquisition strengthens ExxonMobil’s significant presence in the dominant U.S. growth area for onshore oil production,” said Woods. “This investment gives us an exceptional Delaware Basin position in a proven multi-stacked play that can generate attractive returns in a low-price environment.

“The highly-contiguous position will provide significant cost advantages in developing 3.4 billion barrels of resource, of which 75 percent is liquids. By utilizing ExxonMobil’s technological strength coupled with its unconventional development capabilities we can drill the longest lateral wells in the Permian Basin, reducing development costs and increasing reserve capture.”

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.Exxon will make an upfront payment of $5.6 billion in Exxon share and a series of additional contingent cash payments totaling up to $1 billion to be paid beginning in 2020 and ending no later than 2032.

The acquired companies, which include the operating entity BOPCO, hold about 275,000 acres of leasehold, and production of more than 18,000 net oil equivalent barrels per day, about 70 percent of which is liquids. This includes about 250,000 acres of leasehold in the Permian Basin, the bulk of that in contiguous, held-by-production units in the New Mexico Delaware Basin, with more than 60 billion barrels of oil equivalent estimated in place. The companies also hold producing acreage in other areas in the United States.

ExxonMobil is producing approximately 140,000 net oil-equivalent barrels per day across its Permian Basin leasehold.