Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Chevron's deal to snap up Noble Energy could usher in more oil-patch mergers, but it's hardly a sure bet.

Driving the news: The all-stock deal announced on Monday is the first big takeover during the pandemic-fueled oil bust.

  • But Chevron was on the hunt even before the crisis, and analysts are uncertain how many more deals are in the offing.

What they're saying: "This could certainly ignite a wave of additional consolidation, although that is by no means certain," Enverus analyst Andrew Dittmar said in a note.

  • He points out that M&As were already slow heading into the pandemic, but that the crisis has also created openings — if the stars align.
  • “This deal lays out the blueprint for what post-COVID consolidation will likely need to look like with all-stock consideration, a moderate premium, and asset fit and synergies that are an easy and natural story to tell investors," he said.

The intrigue: Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov tells me that "in the middle of a painful commodity down cycle, even the most liquid, stable companies are not automatically on the lookout for large-scale acquisitions."

  • "We need to be mindful of pressures on balance sheets from low commodity prices as well as dividends. No management team would want to jeopardize its balance sheet due to an ill-timed purchase," Molchanov said.

Yes, but: “In a downturn like this, the strong get stronger and the weaker players try to survive as best they can, and some will be bought," Duane Dickson, a top Deloitte energy analyst, tells The New York Times.

  • “There will be some bankruptcies and mergers and acquisitions like you saw today and I would expect that will continue and potentially pick up speed."

Go deeper

Marathon to sell Speedway gas stations to 7-Eleven for $21 billion

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Refining giant Marathon Petroleum Corp. announced late Sunday that it's selling its Speedway retail gasoline stations and convenience stores to 7-Eleven, Inc. in a $21 billion cash deal.

Why it matters: It's the year's biggest energy deal thus far, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.