[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the October 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]

The seed of a no-premium merger between Devon Energy Corp. and WPX Energy Inc. was first planted in the spring of 2019 when the two CEOs, Dave Hager and Rick Muncrief, respectively, met to discuss the benefits of a possible combination. At that time, the E&P investor base had soured on the sector and wanted to see more scale, and the two leaders imagined the synergies and investment-grade status a combo might create.

But it wasn’t until the summer of 2020, during the depths of the global demand downturn, that the Oklahoma City and Tulsa-based producers came together again to discuss a merger of equals. On Jan. 7, 2021, the two became one. Hager took the role of executive chairman, and Muncrief as president and CEO. 

Muncrief, a petroleum engineering graduate from Oklahoma State University, takes the helm of Devon as the company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. He first joined WPX Energy when The Williams Cos. spun off its E&P assets in 2014, and led operations for Continental Resources Inc. before that. His storied resume includes stops at ConocoPhillips Co., Burlington Resources Inc., Quest Midstream, Meridian Oil and El Paso Corp. Oil and Gas Investor recently visited with Muncrief on the company strategy going forward.

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