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Occidental Petroleum: A Giant Awakens in the Permian Occidental Petroleum expands Permian presence and production by strategically acquiring CrownRock.

By Jeffrey Neal Johnson

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) has been making waves in the energy sector with its recent acquisition of CrownRock, a major player in the Permian Basin. This $12 billion deal represents a strategic move that positions Oxy as a key player in the future of US shale production.

The rise of a Permian powerhouse

Occidental Petroleum's acquisition of CrownRock marks a pivotal moment in the company's history, catapulting it into the ranks of the dominant players in the oil and energy sectors. This strategic move significantly expands Oxy's footprint in the region, adding:

  • 94,000 net acres: This substantial land acquisition provides Oxy with a vast platform for future drilling and development, significantly increasing its resource base.
  • 1,700 undeveloped well locations: These locations represent a treasure trove of potential production, ready to be tapped for future growth.
  • 170,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d): This immediate production boost solidifies Oxy's position as one of the largest producers in the Permian, a clear indicator of its growing influence within the basin.

The CrownRock acquisition goes beyond simply adding numbers to the balance sheet. It signifies Oxy's bold ambition to become a true Permian powerhouse. By acquiring these prime assets, Oxy gains:

  • Enhanced scale: The increased acreage and production volume elevate Oxy's status in the industry, allowing it to leverage its size to achieve greater operational efficiency and cost competitiveness.
  • Improved access to infrastructure: CrownRock's existing infrastructure, including water pipelines, recycling plants, and saltwater disposal wells, provides Oxy with a valuable logistical advantage, facilitating efficient and cost-effective operations.
  • Diversification of assets: With CrownRock's Midland Basin assets complementing Oxy's existing Delaware Basin holdings, the company achieves a more balanced portfolio, mitigating risks associated with geological variations and production fluctuations.

This strategic move conveys a strong message to the market. That message is that Occidental Petroleum is a major player in the Permian Basin. With its expanded footprint, enhanced capabilities, and ambitious vision, Oxy is poised to become a major force in shaping the future of US shale production.

Oxy's Strategic Vision for Long-Term Growth

Occidental Petroleum's CEO, Vicki Hollub, aptly described the CrownRock acquisition as "the opportunity to build scale in the Midland Basin and positioning us to drive value creation for our shareholders." 

This statement indicates that this acquisition is not simply a land grab. It can be interpreted as a calculated move designed to solidify Oxy's dominance in the Permian Basin. By securing access to vast resources and low-cost, high-return production opportunities, Oxy is laying the groundwork for a sustainable and profitable future.

Hollub's emphasis on "building scale" highlights the essential role of size in the energy sector. A larger footprint translates to economies of scale, increased bargaining power with suppliers and customers, and the ability to invest in cutting-edge technologies. 

The commitment to "driving value creation for shareholders" demonstrates that Oxy's strategic vision extends beyond mere corporate expansion. By strategically allocating resources and maximizing returns from its assets, Oxy seeks to reward its investors and ensure the company's long-term financial stability.

The acquisition of CrownRock aligns perfectly with Oxy's long-term strategy of focusing on low-cost, high-return production in the Permian. The region's vast reserves and relatively lower production costs offer Oxy an ideal platform to achieve its strategic goals. This synergy between the acquisition and Oxy's established strategy ensures a smooth integration and a rapid realization of the anticipated benefits.

Financial considerations

The acquisition is financed through a combination of cash, stock issuance, and debt, raising Oxy's debt levels from the current $20 billion to around $28 billion. While debt management will be crucial, the deal is expected to generate $1 billion in free cash flow in its first year, based on an oil price of $70 per barrel. This positions Oxy for continued growth and shareholder value creation.

As with any major acquisition, challenges remain. Integrating CrownRock's operations and managing increased debt will require careful planning and execution. However, the potential rewards are significant. The acquisition opens access to new technologies, development techniques, and a vast resource base.

Investor reaction

Investors have reacted positively to the CrownRock deal, with Oxy's stock price rising steadily in recent months. The acquisition showcases Oxy's commitment to growth and its position as a leading player in the Permian Basin. This bodes well for the company's future and potential to generate shareholder value.

Occidental Petroleum's acquisition of CrownRock marks a significant milestone in the company's history. It solidifies Oxy's position as a leader in the Permian Basin, opens up new growth opportunities, and creates value for shareholders. While challenges remain, Oxy's strategic vision and execution capabilities give it the right tools to navigate the future.

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