Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. are among the companies considering first-round bids this month for closely held oil producer Endeavor Energy Resources LP, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The two oil majors may be joined by ConocoPhillips in the auction process, which is expected to value the company at about $15 billion including debt, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has also been contacted and may participate in the process, the people said.
The value reflects Endeavor’s size, with drilling rights on 329,000 net acres, of which only 2 percent have been developed, the people said. A $15 billion sale would rank among the top 10 deals ever for a private energy company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Representatives for Endeavor, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips declined to comment. A representative for Shell didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Endeavor, based in Midland, Texas, and owned by the family of founder Autry C. Stephens, agreed to run a sales process after its advisers got inquiries from prospective bidders, the people familiar with the matter said. Despite that interest, the family’s preference remains an initial public offering in 2019 so it can retain control, and the management team is continuing to organize its accounts for that goal, the people said.
After a relatively slow start in the first half of the year, deal activity has increased in the North American oil and gas market, driven by companies looking to increase their interests in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico. The deals have included Diamondback Energy Inc.’s agreement in August to buy peer Energen Corp. for $8.4 billion and BP Plc’s pending $10.5 billion acquisition of BHP Billiton Ltd.’s onshore U.S. operations.