(Reuters) – The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. oil and gas sector during the third quarter tied with the first quarter for the worst in a decade, according to data released on Monday, as most shale producers remain reluctant to spend after an oil price crash this year
U.S. crude prices are lower by about a third from the start of the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hammered fuel demand and forced oil companies to focus on preserving cash to survive the downturn instead of boosting production.
Energy consultancy Enverus said just 28 deals with a disclosed value were signed during July-September.
However, the total value of these deals, at about $21 billion, was 19.4% higher than a year earlier, helped by oil major Chevron Corp’s CVX.N purchase of Noble Energy Inc NBL.O and Devon Energy Corp’s DVN.N merger with WPX Energy Inc WPX.N.
Enverus valued those two mergers at $18.63 billion, almost 90% of the total deal value.
“There is a broad consensus that consolidation is a net positive for the industry… but it can be a challenge to find the right asset and balance sheet fits for accretive deals,” said Andrew Dittmar, senior M&A analyst at Enverus.
“It may take several more years for consolidation to play out.”