Chord Energy said Feb. 21 it will acquire Enerplus Corp. for nearly $4 billion in a stock-and-cash deal to potentially create the largest producer in the Williston Basin.

Chord, which formed in 2022 through the combination of Whiting Petroleum and Oasis Petroleum, is seizing on the shale consolidation wave which has extended from the Permian Basin to the maturing Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Montana.

"Enerplus' Williston Basin position brings high-quality inventory, and we are excited to leverage best practices from both companies to create a stronger, more efficient entity," said Chord CEO Danny Brown in a statement. "The combined company is expected to benefit from improving returns, capital efficiency, low-cost inventory, and a peer-leading balance sheet, all of which support sustainable free cash flow generation and meaningful shareholder returns."

The primary reason for the domino effect in shale consolidation is the chase for strong drilling inventory for years to come.

Chord said the combined company would become a premier operator in the Williston with 1.3 million net acres and combined production of 287,000 boe/d, including about 100,000 boe/d from Enerplus.

Crude oil is expected to be 56% of the combined company's production.

The deal values Enerplus at about $3.8 billion. Enerplus' market cap was nearly $3.4 billion as of Feb. 21.

The combined company would have an enterprise value of about $11 billion.

The deal is for roughly 90% stock and 10% cash. Chord shareholders would own two-thirds of the combined company.

The deal is expected to close by mid-2024.