The biggest merger
With a market chemical capitalization of $190b and $164b for Chevron, the combined size would be $350b. It would be the world’s second-largest oil company by market capitalization and output, behind Aramco and Saudi Arabia. Aramco has a market capitalization off about $1.8 trillion. At pre-outbreak levels, the combined company could produce about 7 million barrels of oil a day.
The deal would be far bigger than the mergers of major chemical companies that took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including ExxonMobil, Mobil, Chevron and Texaco.
It may also be the biggest chemical corporate merger in history. Vodafone Group holds that record with its $181 billion acquisition of German company Mannesmann AG in 2000, according to Dialogue.
The oil industry completed several major acquisitions in 2020, including Chevron’s $5 billion acquisition of Noble Energy Inc. And ConocoPhillips’ $9.7 billion acquisition of Poncho Resources Inc.
This is a family
ExxonMobil and Chevron started out as “family”. In 1911, Standard Oil Monegority founded by Rockefeller was divided into three larger Oil companies (Standard of New Jersey, Standard of New York, Standard of California) and four other original Oil companies according to the United States Anti-Trust Law. These include Mobil, ExxonMobil and Chevron.
From the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s, the seven sisters of the oil industry dominated the global oil industry. Before the 1973 oil crisis, the “seven sisters” controlled about 85% of the world’s oil reserves.
What are the benefits of consolidation?
Many investors, analysts and energy executives are calling for further consolidation in the oil industry, where cost cuts and operational efficiencies will help the company weather the pandemic-induced recession and prepare for an uncertain future.
Energy analyst Paul San-key first floated the idea of combining Chevron and ExxonMobil in October. The combined company would have a market capitalization of about $300 billion and debt of about $100 billion, he said. Together, the two companies could cut $15 billion in overheads and $10 billion in annual capital spending.
Some analysts say the combination of the two companies to create the world’s second largest oil company could change the global energy market.
Last year, a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s largest oil exporter, triggered a panicked plunge in international oil prices that devastated the U.S. oil industry and forced many U.S. companies to go bankrupt, lay off employees and merge.
Reuters says the price war highlights the vulnerability of U.S. oil companies. Compared with other countries, the U.S. government’s ability to interfere with oil companies is limited. U.S. oil companies compete with each other and set different production targets. If the two companies merge, it would be an American oil major’s best chance to compete with Saudi Arabia and other big national oil companies.
In the longer term, further consolidation in the oil industry can also prepare for future uncertainty and transformation. In response to climate change, many countries are reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.
Unlike their European peers BP and Shell, Exxon Mobil and Chevron have not made big investments in renewables, opting instead to double their investments in oil and gas projects. Both companies agree that the world will need a lot of fossil fuels in the coming decades, and that the current lack of investment in oil production will create a mismatch between supply and demand.