Chord Energy Corp. agreed to buy Enerplus Corp. for US$3.7 billion in stock and cash, continuing a flurry of oil and gas dealmaking and creating a leading producer in the Bakken shale formation of the northern U.S. plains.

Enerplus investors will receive $1.84 per share, plus 0.10125 shares of Chord common stock, the companies said Wednesday. 

Oil executives are pushing to build out their portfolios with future drilling sites and shore up cash flows. Last week, Diamondback Energy Inc. agreed to buy fellow Texas driller Endeavor Energy Resources LP in a $26 billion deal, topping off a year of roughly $250 billion in U.S. oil and natural gas deals that have consolidated a fractured collection of wildcatters into larger corporations.

Buying Calgary-based Enerplus will increase Chord’s production to the equivalent of 287,000 barrels of oil per day and give it a total 1.3 million net acres in the Williston Basin. 

Executives for Houston-based Chord have touted their ability to drill subsurface wells sideways for 3 miles, a distance that has gained increasing popularity in the U.S. in hopes of extracting oil and gas more efficiently. The geology in the Bakken — which straddles North Dakota and Montana — has motivated companies to drill longer laterally before some other oil regions, and Chord Chief Executive Officer Danny Brown said Wednesday the combined company’s synergies will provide more opportunity to drill longer horizontal wells.

U.S. and Canadian regulators will need to approve the deal. Over the last year, the Biden administration has scrutinized shale deals of all sizes, a heightened level of inspection that companies and their lawyers say they haven’t seen in many years.

When the deal closes, Chord’s board will increase to 11 members, including four representatives from Enerplus. The deal gives Enerplus shares an implied value $18.42. 

The transaction is expected to close by mid-2024. Citi is Chord’s lead financial adviser. Evercore was lead adviser for Enerplus.