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The logo of French oil company Total at La Defense business district, near Paris. Photo: Justin Lorget/Getty Images

French oil-and-gas giant Total said Sunday it has entered a deal with Occidental Petroleum Corp. to acquire Anadarko’s assets in Algeria, Ghana and South Africa for $8.8 billion, Reuters reports. The deal, which would be expected to close next year, is contingent on Occidental winning the war to acquire Anadarko.

Why it matters: The proposed deal is a new twist in the high-stakes battle between Chevron and Occidental to acquire Anadarko in what would be the biggest oil mega-deal in years. It signals how Occidental, which has bid much more than its larger rival Chevron, is seeking to show that it’s well-positioned to emerge from the expensive transaction in a strong position and successfully combine its operations with Anadarko’s.

Go deeper: Occidental battles Chevron for Anadarko prize

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.