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WPX Energy CEO Rick Muncrief. Image courtesy of WPX Energy/Youtube.

Oklahoma-based WPX Energy said Wednesday it has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire privately held RKI Exploration & Production for $2.35 billion, plus the assumption of $400 million of debt.

The majority of RKI’s leasehold is located in Loving County, Texas, and Eddy County, New Mexico, where the company has four rigs deployed, WPX said.

RKI’s liquids-rich assets in the Permian Basin include about 22,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of existing production, with oil accounting for more than half of production, and 92,000 net acres in the core of the Permian’s Delaware Basin, with 98 percent being held by production.

WPX will also aquire more than 3,600 gross risked drilling locations across stacked pay intervals and more than 375 miles of scalable gas gathering and water infrastructure.

“This is a transformative opportunity that fits perfectly with our strategy to increase our oil production and highquality oil inventory,” WPX president and chief executive officer Rick Muncrief said.

WPX plans to retain RKI staff upon closing, as well as its offices in Oklahoma City and Carlsbad, New Mexico.

WPX’s corporate headquarters will remain in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

All of RKI’s Permian properties are located in the Delaware Basin.

RKI also has operations in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin that are not included in WPX’s purchase.

RKI will divest or transfer out its Powder River Basin assets before completing the merger with WPX.

WPX added that it plans to increase the rig count on the Permian assets from four to six by the end of this year.

The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

The parties expect to complete the transaction by the end of the third-quarter 2015, WPX said.