BP Plc (NYSE: BP) pushed past its competitors in July—rumored to be Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS.A)—to win the bidding for most of BHP Billiton Ltd.’s (NYSE: BHP) prized U.S. shale assets with a $10.5 billion cash offer.

Whether the price was too steep—BP officials say the market will decide—the company clearly needed assets in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford and Haynesville shales if it was going to hit its goal of lifting Lower 48 oil production 20-fold by the middle of the next decade.

BP’s U.S. upstream assets already span Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming but offers little in the way of liquids production. In New Mexico, as of November, subsidiary BP America was the state’s third largest natural gas producer—but 55th in oil volumes.

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