Higher commodity prices and a healthier market prompted global upstream merger and acquisition deals to reach a three-year high of $181 billion in 2021, according to an independent energy research company.
Value of deals rebounded, returning to pre-pandemic levels, but were slightly below 2017 and 2018 levels of $205 billion and $199 billion respectively, Rystad Energy said.
The value of deals over $1 billion reached $126 billion, or 70 percent of the global total. The share of these almost tripled, with 2021 marking 35 such deals as compared to only 13 in the previous year. Out of these 35 deals, 13 were company acquisitions with a value of around $65 billion.
Two Australia-related mergers made up $22 billion of the total. One was between Santos and Oil Search and the other was between Woodside Petroleum and BHP. The remaining over-$1 billion deals were mainly focused on North American assets.
Gas made up 56 percent of all traded resources, up from 43 percent in 2020, while oil and natural gas liquids had shares of 31 percent and 9 percent, respectively. The shift in deal composition in 2021 was attributed to the North American acquisitions and was also helped by deal activity in other regions.
“With a strong potential deal pipeline, continuous pressure on companies to transform amid a global push to lower carbon emissions while simultaneously delivering profitable oil and gas production, and an average oil price of above $60 per barrel expected for 2022, the upstream M&A market is likely to stay active for the foreseeable future,” Ilka Haarmann, senior analyst at Rystad Energy, said.