Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Occidental Petroleum Corp. on Wednesday offered to pay $57 billion to buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp., topping an existing agreement with Chevron that already would have been the largest oil merger in years.

Why it matters: The move reflects how big oil companies like Occidental are keen to expand their position in the shale patch, especially the surging Permian Basin, where Anadarko has a sizable position.

"Occidental is a leader in using technological innovation to create value, and we will deploy our expertise to enhance the performance and productivity of Anadarko's assets not only in the Permian, but globally."
— Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub, in an official statement

Details: Occidental offered $76 per share for Anadarko, half in cash and half in stock, whereas Chevron offered $65 per share, 75% of which was in stock.

The intrigue, per Bloomberg: "The Occidental offer may not be as appealing as Chevron’s to Anadarko shareholders despite the higher price. Occidental’s smaller size and balance sheet compared with Chevron mean there may be more uncertainty over its prospects of completing a deal."

  • Chevron and Anadarko did not provide immediate comment on Wednesday.

Go deeper: Chevron to buy Anadarko in oil mega-deal

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