As capital markets dry up and shale producers look for pathways to growth, oil and gas data analytics firm Enverus predicts the US sector will see a “surge” in mergers and acquisitions in 2020. The latest move to consolidate the US shale sector will add 1,500 drilling locations to the buyer's portfolio. It also reflects that all-stock or mostly-stock deals are now the sector’s preferred acquisition vehicle. Occidental Petroleum has closed on deals totaling $1.7 billion as part of its divestment program following its $38-billion takeover of Anadarko Petroleum. The US major has had a stake in the field since it started production in 1997.