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  • For the first time in many quarters, US shale did not claim top billing in quarterly upstream M&A activity. High-value deals in the Australia region claim the top spots: Woodside’s acquisition of BHP’s oil and gas business and Santos’ acquisition of Oil Search. Those deals helped drive overall quarterly upstream M&A value to $43.1 billion. Yet, this quarter showed a slight reduction in US shale consolidation. Big-ticket takeovers were rarer, in favor of more modestly priced asset levels deals. The $9.5 billion cash deal by Conoco for Shell’s Permian Basin assets is the outlier. Our improved Brent oil price outlook to $70/bbl for 2021, close to $80 in 2022 and $75 through mid-2020s, is supportive of M&A.
    Tue, Oct 12, 2021
  • OMV’s decision to take a controlling stake in Borealis Group, a European petrochemicals leader, for $4.68 billion in H1’21 marked a critical milestone in its transition to an integrated chemicals company. Compared to its European peers, OMV’s embrace of petrochemicals over renewables for its transition strategy will markedly impact its investment plans moving forward. Having pursued an aggressive M&A expansion (2017-20), OMV has now placed a moratorium on acquisitions in the near-term as it seeks to deleverage from its debt-heavy Borealis purchase. In the near term, OMV will prioritize divestments and managing core upstream production assets, as well as likely pursuing downstream growth outside of Europe in the longer term.
    Tue, Oct 5, 2021
  • Large resource holders, Brazil and Angola, are advancing new exploration opportunities, mindful of the race to develop oil and gas resources ahead of energy transition impacts. New additions to the quarterly Resource Access Monitor continue the trend of improving terms or investment conditions for exploration acreage offers.
    Wed, Sep 22, 2021
  • Policy developments in several offshore plays—Norway, USGOM, Mexico and Nigeria—are on watch in this update to the Exploration Activity Monitor. A steady pace of drilling activity in Norway in planned, despite potential policy shifts under a likely new government seeking to curb new exploration. In the USGOM, high-profile wells such as Chevron’s Silverback prospect and BP’s Puma West discovery highlight ongoing activity, even as the federal leasing ban works through the courts. The expected spate of high-profile offshore exploration activity in Mexico has yielded successes for select firms, such as Eni and Lukoil. Yet, creeping resource nationalism policy could impact decisions to advance projects and appraisal drilling. Nigeria has finally passed its long-awaited Petroleum Bill, designed to spur new investment. But the upstream incentives may be insufficient to prompt larger existing operators to prioritize deepwater wildcats for greenfield growth. On the corporate front, we are watching the recent Woodside-BHP tie up, where portfolio merging and final investment decisions likely put planned drilling on the back burner.
    Fri, Aug 20, 2021
  • Occidental Petroleum continues to focus on balance sheet repair and reducing debt from the 2019 acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum, currently standing at $36.9 billion. It will remain focused on debt reduction in 2021 through 2023, while maintaining production at Q4’20 levels, while dividend growth remains a medium-term priority. Divestments have been key to recent balance sheet improvement, exceeding a $2 billion divestment target in 2020, with another $2 billion-$3 billion in sales planned for 2021. The recovery in oil and chemicals demand during H1’21 has also helped the firm make headway in preserving and expanding free cash flow. The firm is also responding to climate-related pressures by being the first US independent to commit to a net-zero strategy.
    Thu, Aug 12, 2021
  • US shale consolidation steals the spotlight once again, driving some $36 billion in deal value in Q2’21. Overall upstream M&A deal flow reached $39 billion, on par with pre-pandemic levels, underpinned by several high-value corporate deals over $1 billion. The top transaction in Q2’21 was the combination of Cabot Oil & Gas and Cimarex Energy in an all-stock merger of equals worth $9.3 billion. The deal demonstrates the new permutations seen in the US shale patch beyond simple survival and buying assets on the cheap seen in the past several quarters. Basin step-outs, smaller basin consolidation, as well as increased activity by private equity (both sell offs and acquisitions) ramped up this quarter, shaking up the competitive landscape of basin leaders. Outside of North America, the top international deals prioritize producing assets as companies advance energy transition objectives through global divestments.
    Thu, Jul 8, 2021
  • The race to develop oil and gas resources ahead of energy transition impacts are clearly on the mind of governments. New additions this quarter to the Resource Access Monitor demonstrate an urgency by states to improve terms or investment conditions for exploration acreage offers. In traditional offshore plays, such as Norway and Australia, continued addition of acreage to regular annual offerings underscores how consistency in terms may sustain investment. In Latin America and Asia, frontier states are improving regulatory processes while existing producers see the need to improve terms.
    Wed, Jun 23, 2021
  • Despite last year’s challenging macro conditions and price collapse, Sinopec, China’s largest refiner, generated a profit for the year. Sinopec plans a 24% boost in capex this year (to $26 billion), with nearly equal amounts going to both the upstream and downstream segments. To grow gas output by 10% over the next three years, it will depend on continued advancements at key shale and other unconventional plays. As the domestic crude base matures, the firm will grow increasingly dependent on overseas assets for production and on imports to feed its refineries. As part of its growing energy transition strategy, Sinopec aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and launch its first green hydrogen facility next year. The NOC has also established an investment-oriented subsidiary, Sinopec Capital, with $1.5 billion for new energy investments.
    Wed, Jun 2, 2021
  • Company data on production and capex guidance for 2021.
    Thu, May 13, 2021
  • Company data on total, upstream and exploration capital spending.
    Thu, May 13, 2021
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