Someone’s PR folks were up at the crack of dawn all dressed in catnip. Looks like the proverbial cat has been lured out of the bag as to which contender is most likely to win the crown for Permian Prince CrownRock.

Reese Energy Consulting is following the latest news first broken by the Wall Street Journal to report Houston-based Oxy has offered the highest bid for the Midland player. According to the paid tattletales, Oxy’s bid values CrownRock at $12.5 billion. CrownRock CEO Tim Dunn in mid-September floated a price tag of $10+ billion after announcing his flirtation with a possible sale. Bloomberg would later report, eh, maybe it’ll fetch $8 billion. This, of course, before October’s Exxon-Pioneer and Chevron-Hess mega mergers whipped up a consolidation firestorm, igniting rampant speculation as to who was next in line to snap up or sell. It’s created quite the entertaining spectacle.

Just last month, Continental, Marathon Oil, Devon Energy, ExxonMobil, Diamondback, and ConocoPhillips were said to be eyeing potential bids for CrownRock’s 86,000 net acres, 226 MBOED, and 15 years of inventory. Nary a whisper or mention of Oxy, a Permian giant pumping 968 MBOED across 2.8 million net acres in the Midland and Delaware.

Oxy this year has grabbed more headlines about its low-carbon pursuits, direct air capture (DAC) projects, and increasing investments by Berkshire Hathaway than any hunch of a Permian acquisition. But should Oxy capture the Crown, it wins three ways—growing its output well past the million BOED mark, implementing its DAC technology for enhanced oil recovery to produce even more, and further proving its ability to produce low-carbon oil which it wants to commercialize.