Shares in American shale producers ticked up almost across the board Monday after reports that Exxon was in informal talks for the potential acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose stock jumped 8.5% on the day.
Riding high on news that Exxon is shopping around for Permian assets, other shale producers’ shale prices are following Pioneer.
Diamondback Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FANG) is up 2% as of 3:37 p.m. EST (hitting up to 4% gains earlier in the day). Devon Energy Corp (NYSE:DVN), a major player in the Permian’s Delaware Basin, was also up 1.04% on the day at $55.47 per share.
The S&P 500 Energy Index was up $3.23 just prior to closing on Monday.
Exxon’s talks with Pioneer have given the oil industry renewed faith that this could be a big year for mergers and acquisitions, with Big Oil flush with cash and Permian asset holders looking pretty attractive. Ninepoint Partners' Eric Nuttall thinks Exxon’s talks with Pioneer could be a one-off event, not necessarily the start of a M&A trend.
An acquisition of a shale driller such as Pioneer makes sense, because, Nuttall told Bloomberg, Pioneer holds the longest-dated inventory in the Texas portion of the Permian.
But the share price hike for shale drillers suggests that the market is viewing Exxon’s purchase as the potential start of an M&A spree. Truist Securities analyst Neal Dingman even sees Chevron as potentially being on the lookout for Permian assets this year. Chevron managed to boost its Permian-derived Q4 production even while its overall Q4 production was down by 3% year on year.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com