Mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX)  has broadened its exposure within the energy market by spending a total of $10.3 billion on two rival oil and gas companies.

The Phoenix-based company agreed to acquire Plains Exploration & Production Co. (NYSE: PXP) for about $6.9 billion in cash and stock, as well as McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE: MMR) for about $3.4 billion in cash.

The combined companies will be a U.S.-based natural resource company with a portfolio of mineral assets and significant oil and gas resources.

Plains Exploration, which has a market capitalization of roughly $5.7 billion, has oil production facilities in California, as well as facilities in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. McMoRan, with a market capitalization hovering $2.5 billion, focuses on shallow-water ultra-deep gas off the Gulf of Mexico.

Freeport-McMoRan is considerably larger with a market capitalization hovering $30.6 billion.  

The transaction contributes to a string of energy deals in 2012. On Dec. 5, Plains All American spent $500 million on four oil terminals. On Dec. 3, First Reserve purchased Ameriforge, and in November, Curtiss-Wright purchased Cimarron Energy.

For more coverage on energy M&A, see “Fracking Fuels Energy Deals.”

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