Exxon buys Celtic Exploration for $2.6B

CALGARY, Alberta -- A Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil is acquiring the oil and gas exploration firm Celtic Exploration Ltd. for $2.63 billion.

The deal broadens Exxon's stable of shale plays at a time of massive oversupply.

ExxonMobil Canada gets access to 649,000 acres in two shale formations, the Montney and Duvernay, as well as additional acreage in other parts of Alberta, the company said.

The deal still must be approved by shareholders at Celtic, based in Calgary, as well as Canadian government regulators. Celtic shareholders will get $24.90 per share, plus one-half share of a new company that will hold assets not included in the deal with ExxonMobil Canada. Those include acres in the Inga area of British Columbia, the Grande Cache area of Alberta, and oil and gas properties in Karr, Alberta, the company said. Celtic shares closed at $18.41 in Toronto on Tuesday.

Current production of the Montney, Duvernay and other Alberta acreage is 72 million cubic feet per day of natural gas and 4,000 barrels per day of crude, condensate and natural gas liquids, the company said in the statement. The output was estimated by Celtic on Dec. 31. It includes an estimated 128 million oil equivalent barrels of proved plus probable reserve.

Celtic's approximately 60 workers will get the chance to work for ExxonMobil Canada, the statement said.

Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. closed Tuesday up 87 cents, or 1 percent, at $92.38.