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Transactions defied low oil prices, as investors bet on long-term economics

The pull of the Permian unleashed the big money in a burst of M&A action in 2017. Just three deals in the first quarter alone—ExxonMobil's acquisition of Bass Brothers' properties in the Delaware Basin for $5.6bn, Noble Energy's $3.2bn buy-out of Clayton Williams and Parsley Energy's $2.8bn grab of Double Eagle Energy's acreage, all in the Permian—accounted for the lion's share of asset-buying as the industry raced for promising acreage. During those three hectic months, M&A in the Permian accounted for $17bn by value, a record. "Buyers were clearly scrambling to get their hands on what they could in the best tight oil play in the world before all opportunities got taken up," wrote

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