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California’s largest oil company, California Resources Corp. (OTCPK:CRCQW), has announced it will buy Aera Energy in a $2.1 billion deal, including debt, as the oil and gas company looks to more than double its production.
According to California Resources, the merged company will own interests in five of the largest oil fields in California adding that its 2024 production is estimated to average 150,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day.
The company has revealed that the deal will also unlock significant carbon capture and storage (CCS) potential, adding ~54 million metric tons of CCS pore space in the San Joaquin basin after the deal closes. Aera is currently owned by German asset manager IKAV and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Roth MKM analysts have praised the deal, saying California Resources is paying a very reasonable price for the assets.
Back in 2020, deep in the throes of the oil crisis, California Resource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it struggled under the weight of a $5B debt and equity interest. Created in late 2014 as a spin-off from Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), California Resource was saddled with debt right from its inception after transferring billions of dollars to Occidental. However, it managed to do well for part of its brief history, with net crude daily production hitting 132,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day before it went under. Thankfully, the company was able to emerge from bankruptcy just three months later after a restructuring deal that saw $4.4 billion in debt converted to equity.
California Resource operates in a challenging regulatory environment. Oil production in the state of California has been on a steady decline for almost four decades with few new drilling permits issued since Gavin Newsom became governor in 2019. This is reflected in the company’s shares which trade at a discount to its peers’.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.