Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)'s largest-ever Canadian acquisition is fueling speculation that domestic companies with assets in Alberta’s shale-gas fields will become takeover targets.
Shares of Artek Exploration Ltd. (RTK), Cequence Energy Ltd. (CQE) and NuVista Energy Ltd. (NVA) all surged yesterday after Exxon agreed to pay $2.86 billion ($2.91 billion) for Celtic Exploration Ltd. (CLT)'s leases in the Duvernay and Montney shale formations that span an area twice the size of Los Angeles. Larger firms such as Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU) and Paramount Resources Ltd. (POU) also climbed.
The deal helps "externally verify" the Duvernay formation as being "one of the best liquids-rich plays in Canada," said Randy Eresman, chief executive officer of Encana Corp. (ECA), Canada's largest gas producer.
The Duvernay shale, which is soaked in natural gas as well as petroleum liquids such as propane and ethane, which fetch higher prices, may rival the mammoth Eagle Ford formation in south Texas, Eresman said in an interview yesterday in his Calgary office. The Eagle Ford holds the equivalent of 25 billion barrels of crude, according to ITG Investment Research, or enough to supply North American crude demand for three years. . .View Full Article