Exxon Mobil is in advanced talks to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources in a deal that could value the Permian shale basin producer at about $60 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The acquisition would be Exxon’s biggest since its $81 billion deal for Mobil in 1998 and would expand its footprint in one of the most lucrative regions of the U.S. oil patch.
Pioneer, which had a market value as of Thursday of $50 billion, is the third-largest producer of oil in the Permian basin after Chevron Corp and ConocoPhillips. That basin, which stretches across parts of Texas and New Mexico, is the U.S. energy industry’s most coveted because of its relatively low cost to extract oil and gas.
If the negotiations conclude successfully, an agreement between Exxon and Pioneer could be reached in the coming days, the three sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
Spokespeople for Exxon and Pioneer declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday that a deal between the two companies was approaching.
Exxon, which has a market value of $436 billion, is the largest U.S. oil producer with an average 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) from its global operations.
Last year it earned a record $55.7 billion thanks to high oil and gas prices and ended the year with $29.6 billion in cash.