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New Anadarko Bidder Could Focus More On Wyoming Drilling

Occidental Petroleum Logo
Occidental Petroleum

Two weeks ago, Chevron was set to buy Anadarko Petroleum, a major oil and gas player in Wyoming, for $33 billion. Chevron looked particularly interested in its Gulf of Mexico and Permian Basin assets.

Now, that deal seems to be in limbo as another firm is in the running. Texas-based Occidental Petroleum outbid Chevron by $5 billion for the company.

Occidental said it's a better strategic and financial fit for Anadarko. It pointed to potentially huge, and near-term, financial gains.

But Chuck Mason, University of Wyoming economist, said it's curious why a smaller company seems so interested in Anadarko.

"It makes me think that there's something else going on with Occidental that makes them a little desperate, a little hungry," Mason said.

He said Occidental would likely lose a bidding war against Chevron. Other analysts confirm that pointing out the $38 billion bid puts a big strain on the company's balance sheet.

Occidental has a focus on carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery.

Carl Larry, an analyst with Refinitiv, a global provider for financial data, said an Occidental acquisition would have unique implications for Wyoming. After all, it's more focused on domestic, on-shore drilling.

"They're probably going to have more of a laser focus on Wyoming, on the development of the fields out there," Larry said. "Chevron may have an interest, but not a focused interest."

Larry said this story is far from over, as Anadarko mulls which option is better or if a bidding war begins to rage.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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