We all knew this was coming. At some point someone was going to lead the charge and acquire an overlevered U.S. shale producer. That someone came from a rather unlikely source as Noble Energy, (NYSE: NBL) is leading the charge as it has agreed to take outRosetta Resources (NASDAQ: ROSE) in a $2.1 billion deal, including the assumption of $1.8 billion in debt. Noble Energy is offering a very generous 28% premium — as it the deal is clocking in at an Enterprise Value-to-Proved Reserves of about $13.65 per barrel of oil equivalent for Rosetta’s reserves — in order to gain a foothold in two key Texas shale plays. Given the price that foothold is clearly the key to this deal, which now provides a baseline for future shale deals.