Occidental says unaware of any takeover bid for Apache

Rigs contracted by Apache Corp drill for crude oil locked tight in shale in west Texas’ Permian Basin near the town of Mertzon, Texas October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Terry Wade

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Shares of U.S. independent oil and gas producer Apache Corp APA.N rose more than 3 percent early on Wednesday to $56.84 each, partly on an unverified report it was the takeover target of Occidental Petroleum Corp. OXY.N.

Occidental said it had no knowledge of any pending transaction, while Apache declined to comment on what it called rumors.

Apache added that it was holding a town hall meeting with employees in the North Sea in Europe on Wednesday to announce the layoffs of 37 workers.

“We don’t have any knowledge around this topic,” said Occidental spokeswoman Melissa Schoeb.

One energy banker said he was doubtful that Apache would sell itself to Occidential’s new CEO Vicki Hollub., a jobs site for the energy industry, posted a note on Wednesday about the purported acquisition, saying Apache would soon announced the deal to its employees.

The web site said the combined two companies would create a "super major," even though their joint output would be around 1.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, less than half the output of Chevron Corp. CVX.N.

Reporting By Houston Newsroom