Sep 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Shell to sell Permian assets to ConocoPhillips in major shale deal

A Conoco gas station/7-eleven sign that advertises regular gas for 2.99, as seen from below at dusk
Photo: Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell is selling its assets in the prolific Permian Basin shale oil-and-gas basin in Texas to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion.

Why it matters: Monday's announcement latest of several big deals in the U.S. oil sector that are bringing consolidation to the shale sector.

  • It also comes as European giants like BP and Shell are looking to speed movement into lower-carbon business lines, though oil and gas remain their main investments.
  • Shell has said its oil production likely peaked in 2019 and will slowly decline annually as it diversifies.

What they're saying: Wael Sawan, Shell's upstream director, said the deal "reflects our focus on value over volumes as well as disciplined stewardship of capital."

The company said that $7 billion of the proceeds will be returned to shareholders, with the rest used to strengthen its balance sheet.

By the numbers: The Shell-ConocoPhillips deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, involves 225,000 acres in Texas, which according to Shell currently produce roughly 175,000 thousand barrels of oil-equivalent per day.

The big picture: The deal is the second large shale acquisition for U.S.-based ConocoPhillips in recent years that together significantly expand its shale output.

  • ConocoPhillips bought Concho Resources, a large independent player, in an all-stock deal announced in October that closed early this year.
  • Other deals include Chevron's acquisition last year of the big independent Noble Energy announced in July (which also provided Chevron with new gas assets in the Mediterranean Sea).
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