ExxonMobil merges with Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion, Chevron buys the Hess Corp. for $53 billion, Diamondback Energy acquires Endeavor Energy Resources for $26 billion and Occidental Petroleum obtains CrownRock Operating for $12 billion.

Those humongous deals have all made news in the Permian Basin in recent months and State Rep. Brooks Landgraf and Waco economist Ray Perryman say they harbinger a new era in the oilfield with all the independents but Hess having had major holdings in the Basin.

Chevron is a major player in the region, but Hess’s operations were in North Dakota, the Gulf of Mexico, Guyana-Suriname and Malaysia-Thailand.

“Companies are looking ahead, recognizing that oil and gas will continue to be vital, reliable energy sources for years to come,” said Landgraf, an Odessa Republican who chairs the House Environmental Regulation Committee in Austin. “They view the Permian Basin as the cornerstone of this future where innovation and efficiency are driving cleaner and more sustainable energy production.

“Our region’s oil is among the cleanest-burning available and our processes prioritize the health and safety of both workers and the public, making the Basin a prime location for long-term investment.”

However, Landgraf said the independent oil companies will continue to be important.

“Amid these transformative deals it’s essential to remember the critical role of the independents,” he said. “The spirit of the wildcatter and the roughneck has always been at the heart of the Permian Basin’s success.

“These independent operators bring a unique blend of ingenuity and resilience that continues to drive our industry forward. Despite the trend towards consolidation there will always be a place for independents in Texas. They are the pioneers who push boundaries and keep the spirit of exploration alive.”

Representing Ector, Ward, Winkler and Loving counties, Landgraf said, “I will continue to do everything in my power to support the free market and defend the Texas energy industry.

“I have always believed and always will believe that what’s best for the Permian Basin is what’s best for Texas. The key to American energy independence lies underneath our feet.”

Perryman said the essential purpose of the mergers and acquisitions is to take advantage of synergies and create situations where the sums are greater than the parts.

“Synergy” is from the Greek “synergos” for “working together” or “emergence.”

“In the Permian Basin independent producers were responsible for much of the earlier development and now we’re seeing the majors purchase them with the goal of creating efficiencies, lowering costs and therefore increasing profits,” Perryman said. “As long as companies see synergies to merging we will likely see the trend continue.

“In addition the recent transactions increased the access to shale oil and gas reserves in all cases. This pattern indicates that the major players in the industry fully recognize that the demand for these resources will persist for decades to come despite misplaced efforts to restrict production.”

He said combinations of this magnitude only occur when they are consistent with the prospects for long-term profitability and enhanced shareholder value.

“Additional consolidation in the current environment seems likely as fruitful opportunities continue to exist,” Perryman said. “Having said that, I expect that there will be a significant ongoing role for those independents that are either exploiting production niches and new methods or are sizable enough to compete with the majors with respect to costs.

“There are numerous firms in both categories and I expect them to have an important role in fostering innovation and expansion. Given the vastness of the resources, expectations for future demand and diversity of opportunities, there is ample room for a diverse mix of companies.”