(Bloomberg) -- Occidental Petroleum Corp. is in talks to buy closely held shale driller CrownRock LP, according to people familiar with the matter, as consolidation in North America’s most prolific oil field gathers pace.

CrownRock may be valued at more than $10 billion including debt, and a deal could come together soon, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Occidental was in talks with CrownRock. Occidental and CrownRock didn’t respond to requests for comment.

CrownRock is one of the largest private oil and gas producers in the Permian Basin, North America’s biggest source of crude. Output from the field spanning west Texas and New Mexico has doubled in just six years, and the region now yields more oil on a daily basis than OPEC heavyweight Iraq.

For Occidental, the purchase would augment a portfolio that had expanded with the roughly $38 billion takeover of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in 2019. That deal was aided by an investment from Occidental’s biggest shareholder, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The pursuit of CrownRock is the latest in a flurry of recent deal activity in the sector as oil companies, flush with cash from the post-pandemic run-up in crude prices, snap up rivals to secure new places to drill. Exxon Mobil Corp. struck a roughly $60 billion deal for Pioneer Natural Resources Co. last month, and Chevron Corp. agreed to $53 billion takeover of Hess Corp. just weeks later.

Bloomberg News reported last month that CrownRock was up for sale and could fetch around $8 billion, with Devon Energy Corp. among the potential suitors. ConocoPhillips was also considering a bid, Reuters reported last month.

CrownRock is run by Tim Dunn, who has donated more than $30 million to support conservative politicians and groups over the past decade or so. 

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