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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

ConocoPhillips is buying Concho Resources in a $9.7 billion all-stock deal that provides a stark sign of how the pandemic is prompting new consolidation, they announced Monday.

Why it matters: It's the largest deal yet in the U.S. oil patch since the COVID-19 crisis, which has sharply cut demand and sent prices downward.

What they're saying: The companies said the deal will provide $500 in annual savings by 2022. They said their combined resource base is competitive even at modest oil prices.

The big picture: The combined company "will be one of the dominant operators in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, rivaling only the likes of Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Chevron Corp. in terms of crude output," Bloomberg notes.

Catch up fast: It follows Chevron's deal to buy the big independent Noble Energy announced in July (which also provided Chevron new gas assets in the Mediterranean Sea).

And oil-and-gas producers Devon Energy and WPX Energy announced a merger in late September.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Jan 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

After a banner 2020, cleantech poised to accelerate under Biden

Data: FactSet; Note: XOP is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) of U.S.-based oil and gas stocks. ICLN is an ETF of global clean energy stocks. Chart: Axios Visuals

After booming in 2020, stocks of clean-energy companies are poised to keep going up with President Biden pushing policies favorable to their bottom lines.

Where it stands: Cleantech stocks have blown past their last high in the mid-2000’s, which burst in the 2008 financial crisis. Not so far this time despite the pandemic crushing economies everywhere — and the oil industry.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New Energy Department roles look to animate Biden's campaign themes

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The burst of Biden administration staffing picks announced yesterday revealed that the Energy Department (DOE) has newly created roles that reflect what President Biden called campaign priorities.

Driving the news: One new position is "director of energy jobs," which is being filled by Jennifer Jean Kropke. She was previously the first director of workforce and environmental engagement with Local 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
8 mins ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.