US antitrust regulators seek additional details on the ExxonMobil-Pioneer deal
US antitrust regulators are seeking additional details on the ExxonMobil-Pioneer deal. AFP

US antitrust officials are seeking additional information related to ExxonMobil's megadeal to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources for about $60 billion, according to a securities filing Tuesday.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lodged a second request for "additional information and documentary materials" with both companies on Monday, Pioneer said in the filing.

"Pioneer and ExxonMobil continue to work constructively with the FTC in its review of the merger and continue to expect that the merger will be completed in the first half of 2024, subject to the fulfillment of the closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and approval of Pioneer's stockholders," the filing said.

The takeover, announced Oct. 11, ExxonMobil's biggest since the late 1990s acquisition of Mobil by Exxon, will enable greater economies of scale in the Permian Basin -- a fast-growing petroleum region in the southwestern U.S.

ExxonMobil has emphasized plans to escalate investment in the region, boosting oil and gas output -- a stated aim of President Joe Biden, who has criticized ExxonMobil and rival giant Chevron over hefty stock buybacks that reward shareholders at a time when consumers are paying relatively high gasoline prices.

However, the Biden administration has also adopted a tough line on mergers.

Experts have expected scrutiny of the deal given ExxonMobil's size, but have noted that antitrust enforcement typically centers on gasoline-producing refineries, which are not a part of Pioneer's assets.