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Texas-based ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM - Analyst Report) is augmenting its position in the Permian Basin with the acquisition of a large acreage from Endeavor Energy Resources.

Per the deal, ExxonMobil’s subsidiary XTO Energy Inc.’s holdings in the Permian Basin will increase to over 1.5 million net acres, thereby boosting the company’s presence in one of the major U.S. growth areas for onshore oil production.

XTO will finance development to increase its operating equity in about 34,000 gross acres in the prolific liquids-rich Wolfcamp formation in Midland and Upton counties. XTO will drill and operate horizontal wells in the deeper intervals while Endeavor will continue to operate shallow production.

In another transaction, XTO inked an agreement with American Energy – Utica, LLC (“AEU”) relating to its holding in the Utica Shale following a competitive bid process. The agreement will facilitate AEU to gain around 30,000 net acres of XTO’s Ohio leasehold in Harrison, Jefferson and Belmont counties. XTO will continue to operate in a core area of around 55,000 net acres. The company will enhance development by employing proceeds from the transaction to finance total near-term development costs.

XTO’s portfolio has increased by over three times since 2009 when the merger with ExxonMobil was announced. In 2013, XTO expanded its yield in the Appalachian region by about 30%. It also has a strong presence in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays with about 645,000 acres.

Both the transactions emphasize the company’s commitment to develop high-margin liquids growth including Permian and Utica as well as fund development of its widespread domestic natural gas resource.

ExxonMobil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the oil and gas sector include NGL Energy Partners LP (NGL - Snapshot Report), Cheniere Energy Partners L.P. (CQP) and Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG - Analyst Report). All these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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