ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) is acquiring Denbury Resources' (NYSE: DNR) shale assets in the lucrative Bakken region, increasing its holdings there by about 50%.

The deal by Exxon and subsidiary XTO Energy will bring the company 196,000 net acres in North Dakota and Montana, expanding the company's entire Bakken holdings to around 600,000 acres. Exxon expects more than 15,000 oil equivalent barrels per day from the assets in the second half of 2012.

Denbury will receive $1.6 billion in cash as well as Exxon's interests in the Hartzog Draw field in Wyoming and Webster field in Texas. These regions produce roughly 3,600 net oil equivalent barrels per day of natural gas and liquids, according to Exxon.

Denbury intends to use the cash from the transaction to purchase additional oil fields in the Gulf Coast or Rocky Mountain regions that are suited for CO2 flooding, to fund capital expenditures, and/or to repay outstanding debt, according to the company. It also plans to resume its stock repurchase program.

The move comes as production in the Bakken region has taken off recently, helping to dramatically boost the United States' domestic oil production to more than 9 billion barrels per day.

Shares of ExxonMobil rose slightly on the news, up four-tenths of a percent in early trading. Denbury shares leaped more than 3%.

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