Exxon Mobil Corp. has announced plans to boost its holdings in the Bakken shale of North Dakota and Montana by 50 percent.


The company said it intends to spent $1.6 billion to increase its oil-rich Bakken holdings.


It intends to buy all of the Bakken shale assets held by Denbury Resources Inc. for cash. Denbury will also receive Exxon's interest in two oil fields in Wyoming and Texas.


Exxon will acquire 196,000 acres with the purchase. That will bring its Bakken holdings to nearly 600,000 acres.


The Exxon acreage is expected to produce 15,000 barrels per day in the second half of 2012.


That production will increase with additional wells.


The deal increase's Exxon's U.S. oil production by 3 percent.


.