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.