Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) agreed to buy Clayton Williams Energy Inc. for $2.7 billion in stock and cash to expand in America’s hottest shale play.

The combination will create the second-largest acreage position in the Southern Delaware Basin of the Permian shale formation, Houston-based Noble said in a statement. The deal provides more than 4,200 drilling locations on about 120,000 net acres, with resources of more than 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Noble said.

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