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Exxon & Sunoco Logistics to Merge Midstream Assets, Form JV

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ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) and Sunoco Logistics recently announced their decision to form a strategic joint venture (“JV”) by combining their key crude oil midstream assets, mainly in the Permian basin of West Texas.

Per a statement, Permian Express Partners – the new JV – will comprise assets owned by both companies. Sunoco Logistics will be the majority owner and operator of the JV assets with a stake of 85%, while ExxonMobil will hold the remaining 15%.

Sunoco Logistics will contribute its Permian Express 1, Permian Express 2 and Permian Longview and Louisiana Access pipelines to the JV. ExxonMobil, on the other hand, will contribute a Texas-Louisiana pipeline as well as its Pegasus pipeline, which runs from Texas to Illinois.

Notably, part of ExxonMobil's Patoka to Nederland, TX, Pegasus pipeline is shut. In 2013, the Pegasus line split open in Arkansas and caused damage worth $57 million. Also, ExxonMobil was charged a fine of $2.63 million for the incident.

ExxonMobil is also contributing its Hawkins gathering system in Texas, a pipeline that remains idle in southern Oklahoma, as well as its Patoka, Illinois terminal. The terminal lies near the end point of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline and is being developed by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, L.P (ETP - Free Report) .

The new JV will have a stronger crude oil logistics system to meet market demand, will offer added take-away prospects for shippers, as well as enlarge ExxonMobil’s options to deliver its network of refineries. Alongside the transaction, ExxonMobil and its associates will enter into a preferred provider agreement with the JV.

The JV would expand Sunoco Logistics’ footprint in West Texas, which houses the prolific Permian Basin shale play. The decision to form the JV comes less than two months after the company’s announcement to buy Vitol's crude oil unit in the Permian for $760 million.

ExxonMobil currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked player from the same sector is W&T Offshore Inc (WTI - Free Report) , which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

W&T Offshore posted a positive earnings surprise of 44.19% in the preceding quarter. It reported a positive earnings surprise in all of the four preceding quarters.

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