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BP and Royal Dutch Shell are said to be in merger talks that would create a £250 billion oil giant, according to the Times of London. "The City is awash with talk that Britain’s two largest oil companies have engaged financial advisors to discuss terms for a so-called friendly merger that could result in £2.5 billion of cost savings for the enlarged group," it wrote. It says BP, under previous CEO Lord Browne, was thought to have approached Shell last year, and that those plans have now been rekindled under current CEO Tony Hayward. According to website This is Money, company advisors and executives are involved in 'round the clock' negotiations. It says the combined entity would produce over 70% more oil and gas than industry leader ExxonMobil. BP shares are up 2% over the past three days, while Royal Dutch Shell shares have gained 4.5% over the same stretch.

BP 03 07 2007 Chart Royal Dutch Shell 03 07 2007 ChartSources: Times of London, This is Money
Commentary: Option update 7-3-07: Royal Dutch Shell volatility flat [Blogging Stocks] • Oil Majors: Earnings Per SecondBarron's: Oil Guru Art Smith's Picks for 2007
Stocks/ETFs to watch: BP plc (BP), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM)

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Source: BP and Shell in Merger Talks -- Times of London