Shareholders of Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. on Friday approved a pending merger with Chevron Corp. in a special meeting, all but guaranteeing the tie up will be completed by year’s end.
Chevron in July clinched a definitive agreement in an all-stock transaction worth $5 billion that carried a total enterprise value, including debt, of $13 billion. The transaction, which at the time valued Noble at $10.38/share, is designed as trading 0.1191 Chevron shares for each Noble share.
Noble CEO David Stover said the approval “marks an important milestone on the path to becoming part of an even stronger global energy platform. We thank our shareholders and other stakeholders for recognizing the many benefits that will be realized, and the significant value that will be created, through this combination.”
San Ramon, CA-based Chevron, whose heft extends across the globe, would be adding Noble’s extensive operations overseas and in the United States.
Noble has massive natural gas operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Chevron also operates. Offshore Israel Noble operates the 22 Tcf Leviathan project, whose first phase includes four subsea wells, each capable of flowing more than 300 MMcf/d. Proved reserves are estimated at 3.3 Tcf net.
Noble’s West Africa portfolio also would pad Chevron’s opportunities in Equatorial Guinea (EG). Noble in 1Q2020 finalized a liquefied natural gas marketing agreement for offtake from the Alen project underway offshore EG.
Noble also is a leading Lower 48 producer, with operations in the Denver-Julesburg Basin of Colorado. In addition, it has around 92,000 acres in the Permian Basin, where Chevron is a major player. Noble also has a midstream business in the Eagle Ford Shale.
With the Noble deal, Chevron has estimated the run-rate synergies would be about $300 million a year. The synergies in part would be related to cutting the workforce, CEO Mike Wirth said this summer during a conference call with investors. Chevron also expects to high-grade the exploration portfolio, reduce the number of office buildings, information technology and insurance costs.
Based on Noble’s proved reserves at the end of 2019, the deal should add around 18% to Chevron’s oil and gas reserves at an average cost of less than $5/boe, with almost 7 billion boe of risked resources under $1.50. The transaction also is expected to be accretive to return on capital employed, free cash flow and earnings/share one year after closing at $40/bbl Brent, according to Chevron.
Chevron has been acquisition-minded since last year. Before making the deal with Noble, Chevron’s attempt to merge with frequent partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. soured after Occidental Petroleum Corp. secured an agreement worth an estimated $57 billion.
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