Author: Mark Young

Why Canada saw C$42 billion in upstream deals in 2017 – and what this means for 2018

Canada’s upstream sector saw almost C$42 billion in new deals agreed in 2017 – a 91% increase over the five-year annual average – as a few massive oilsands deals offset a drop in overall deal-flow.

Source: CanOils M&A Database – deals are assigned to a year based on their announcement date.

2017 saw $32 billion in spent in three major oilsands deals, which comprised more than three-quarters of the year’s outlay for Canadian upstream assets.

“While 2017 saw the largest spend for a full calendar year since 2014, it’s hard to ignore the fact that a handful of oilsands acquisitions are far and away the key drivers here,” said Chris Wilson, Managing Director at CanOils. “Ignoring deal values, we saw that the number of Canadian upstream deals agreed, excluding land sales, was down by 20 in 2017 from 162 last year.”

The year ended quietly – with just C$117 million in new deals agreed in December according to data available in CanOils’ latest M&A report. There are reasons for optimism, however, heading into 2018.

“2017 was a relatively stable year for the oil price and in general M&A markets around the world have responded positively,” said Wilson.

“After the price downturn, the Canadian upstream sector is populated by companies that are typically much leaner now in terms of production costs and also much more stable in terms of balance sheets. This all seems to suggest that it will not be too long before we see a greater volume of deals being agreed for Canadian assets once again.”

A full rundown of 2017’s largest deals in Canada is available free in a new CanOils report focused on December activity. Click here to access it.

The Permian Basin is still the prime U.S. upstream acquisition target

The Permian Basin was the U.S. upstream sector’s top acquisition target for the fourth year in a row in 2017, according to new data from Evaluate Energy.

As part of a new report that analyses the key M&A trends around the world from the past 12 months, Evaluate Energy shows that the Permian Basin dominated M&A headlines in the U.S. sector with $26.4 billion in new deals announced. This total was almost $15 billion greater than the $10.9 billion in new deals seen in the Marcellus shale, the next most popular acquisition target in terms of dollars spent.

The full report is available for download here.

Source: Evaluate Energy M&A Review 2017, download here.

“While the Marcellus shale did have a big year, and also recorded the largest individual U.S. upstream deal of the year with EQT Corp. acquiring Rice Energy Inc. for US$8.2 billion, the activity here just doesn’t match up to the Permian,” said Eoin Coyne, lead author of the new report in his role as Senior M&A Analyst, Evaluate Energy.

The Permian doesn’t only stand out in terms of the U.S. domestic market, either.

The US$26.4 billion invested in new Permian Basin deals, while marginally lower than the US$27.1 billion recorded in 2016, means that the Permian accounted for 16% of the total value spent on upstream deals last year worldwide.

“The total spend in the basin did slightly decrease from last year, but it would be wrong to infer any waning of interest,” continued Coyne. “It is likely a combination of less distressed asset sales and a stronger oil price. Buyers and sellers have probably just found it harder to agree on a strike price. For the deals that have been agreed, we can see much higher values per acre in 2017 than a year before.”

More information and analysis on 2017’s M&A activity in the Permian Basin and across the U.S. can be found in the Evaluate Energy report, which is available for download at this link.

Floor of US$50 WTI expected to encouraged continued M&A activity in 2018

With $163 billion agreed in new upstream deals in 2017, Evaluate Energy’s latest report suggests that the recently improving oil price will encourage continued M&A spending around the world in 2018.

The full report is available to download here.

“Heading into 2018, the oil industry finds itself in a far healthier position than at this point two years ago, when the oil price was sub-$40 and OPEC remained firm in its stance to let the free market dictate the oil price,” said Eoin Coyne, lead author of the new report in his role as Senior M&A Analyst at Evaluate Energy.

“Since this time, there has been significant progress from industry in pushing down production costs, while the companies that survived have more stable balance sheets. With OPEC’s production cut extending to the end of 2018, we expect the oil price to have a supporting floor of $50 in the coming year,” added Coyne.

Oil companies at large have always used the current trading price of oil as the best barometer of how expansive to be in their investments. If the oil price behaves as expected, we can expect the 2018 total spend to match or improve upon the $163 billion reached in 2017.

Source: Evaluate Energy M&A Review, 2017

The Evaluate Energy report also provides insight on the companies that are best positioned to take advantage of deal opportunities in the coming year by looking at some key debt ratios.

“The ability to assume debt will continue to be a limiting factor with regard to how much is invested in M&A strategies,” added Coyne. “However, some of the world’s largest oil companies are in what we would describe as a “healthy” position, debt-wise, which should lead to another interesting year for upstream M&A in 2018.”

More information on the companies with the greatest ability to assume more debt, according to Evaluate Energy calculations, is available in the report, which can be downloaded here.

List of U.S. Oil & Gas Companies

There are 100s of upstream and downstream oil and gas companies based in the United States varying from large international players such as ExxonMobil and Chevron Corp., right down to small, single-play, domestic focused companies. The Evaluate Energy database provides coverage of every single publicly listed U.S. upstream and downstream oil and gas company, providing clients with all their production data, key financial performance metrics, M&A deals and much more.

Request a demo of Evaluate Energy at this link.


Click here to access our library of free, downloadable oil and gas reports.


List of U.S. oil and gas companies covered by Evaluate Energy

(lists correct as of Mar 31, 2018)


Integrated companies (upstream and downstream business units)

  • Chevron Corp.
  • ExxonMobil Corp.

Upstream companies

  • Abraxas Petroleum Corp.
  • Adams Resources & Energy Inc.
  • Amplify Energy Corp.
  • Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
  • Antero Resources Corp.
  • Apache Corp.
  • Approach Resources Inc.
  • Black Stone Minerals LP
  • Bonanza Creek Energy Inc.
  • Breitburn Energy Partners LP
  • Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.
  • California Resources Corp.
  • Callon Petroleum Co.
  • Camber Energy Inc.
  • Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc.
  • Centennial Resource Development Inc.
  • Chesapeak Energy Corp.
  • Cimarex Energy Co.
  • Citadel Exploration Inc.
  • CKX Lands Inc.
  • CNX Resources Corp.
  • Cobalt International Energy Inc.
  • Comstock Resources Inc.
  • Concho Resources Inc.
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Contango Oil & Gas Co.
  • Continental Resources Inc.
  • Daybreak Oil & Gas Inc.
  • Denbury Resources Inc.
  • Diamondback Energy Inc.
  • Dorchester Minerals LP
  • Earthstone Energy Inc.
  • Eclipse Resources Corp.
  • Energen Corp.
  • Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc.
  • EOG Resources Inc.
  • EP Energy Corp.
  • EQT Corp.
  • ERHC Energy Inc.
  • Erin Energy Corp.
  • EV Energy Partners LP
  • Evolution Petroleum Corp.
  • EXCO Resources Inc.
  • Extraction Oil & Gas Inc.
  • FieldPoint Petroleum Corp.
  • Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (mining company with upstream oil and gas interests)
  • Genie Energy Ltd.
  • Goodrich Petroleum Corp.
  • GulfSlope Energy Inc.
  • Halcon Resources Corp.
  • HighPoint Resources Corp.
  • Hess Corp.
  • Houston American Energy Corp.
  • Isramco Inc.
  • Jagged Peak Energy Inc.
  • Jones Energy Inc.
  • Kimbell Royalty Partners LP
  • Kinder Morgan Inc. (midstream company with upstream interests)
  • Kosmos Energy Ltd.
  • Laredo Petroleum Inc.
  • Legacy Reserves LP
  • Lilis Energy Inc.
  • Linn Energy Inc.
  • Lonestar Resources US Inc.
  • Marathon Oil Corp.
  • Matador Resources Co.
  • Mexco Energy Corp.
  • Mid-Con Energy Partners LP
  • Midstates Petroleum Company Inc.
  • Murphy Oil Corp.
  • National Fuel Gas (midstream company with upstream interests)
  • Newfield Exploration Company
  • Noble Energy Inc.
  • Northern Oil & Gas Inc.
  • Oasis Petroleum Inc.
  • Occidental Petroleum Corp.
  • Panhandle Oil & Gas Inc.
  • Parsley Energy Inc.
  • PDC Energy Inc.
  • PEDEVCO Corp.
  • Penn Virginia Corp.
  • Petrolia Energy Corp.
  • PetroQuest Energy Inc.
  • Pioneer Natural Resources Co.
  • QEP Resources Inc.
  • Range Resources Corp.
  • Resolute Energy Corp.
  • Rex Energy Corp.
  • Ring Energy Inc.
  • Rosehill Resources Inc.
  • Royale Energy Inc.
  • RSP Permian Inc.
  • Sanchez Energy Corp.
  • SandRidge Energy Inc.
  • SilverBow Resources Inc.
  • SM Energy Co.
  • Southwestern Energy Co.
  • Spindletop Oil & Gas Co.
  • SRC Energy Inc.
  • Stone Energy Corp.
  • Tengasco Inc.
  • Tiger Oil and Energy Inc.
  • Titan Energy LLC
  • Torchlight Energy Resources Inc.
  • Transatlantic Petroleum Ltd.
  • T-Rex Oil Inc.
  • Ultra Petroleum Corp.
  • Unit Corp.
  • U.S. Energy Corp.
  • Vaalco Energy Inc.
  • Vanguard Natural Resources Inc.
  • Viper Energy Partners LP
  • W&T Offshore Inc.
  • West Texas Resources Inc.
  • Whiting Petroleum Corp.
  • WildHorse Resource Development Corp.
  • WPX Energy Inc.
  • Yuma Energy Inc.
  • Zion Oil & Gas Inc.

Downstream companies

  • Andeavor
  • Blue Dolphin Energy Co.
  • Calumet Specialty Product Partners LP
  • CVR Energy Inc.
  • Delek US Holdings
  • HollyFrontier Corp.
  • Marathon Petroleum Corp.
  • Par Pacific Holdings Inc.
  • PBF Energy Inc.
  • Phillips 66
  • Valero Energy Corp.


Request a demo of Evaluate Energy at this link.


Click here to access our library of free, downloadable oil and gas reports.

Brazil: New regulations spur offshore investment surge

Brazil secured an encouraging US$3 billion in bonus bids during key licensing rounds held last fall, according to a new report, which represents 23% of the country’s total upstream deal values since 2014.

This fresh investment, notably in offshore pre-salt basins, follows the introduction of significant regulatory changes to the oil and gas sector within Brazil.

The report, entitled Latin America: Assessing The Impact Of Oil Prices, Energy Reforms And National Oil Companies On Deal Activity, is produced by the Daily Oil Bulletin, Evaluate Energy and Sproule. It assesses the impacts on deal-flow and itemizes the bonus bids made by several global oil and gas powerhouses. It also highlights the key upstream deals within the other US$9.9 billion in upstream deals agreed in Brazil between 2014-2017. With a total of US$12.9 billion, Brazil witnessed more M&A activity in terms of pure deal values than any other Latin American nation.

Source: Latin America: Assessing The Impact Of Oil Prices, Energy Reforms And National Oil Companies On Deal Activity.

“Recent bid rounds have been dominated by large, multinational independents and national oil companies attracted to prolific deepwater targets,” said Jim Chisholm, report co-author and Vice President, Latin America, at Sproule. “As the political situation and Petrobras stabilize, Brazil should be well placed to attract significant investment, both in its prolific offshore basins and resource-rich but relatively untapped onshore basins.”

The full report, which includes analysis of M&A trends in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, is available for download here.

Follow Sproule on LinkedIn for the latest updates.

Global upstream M&A reaches $163 billion in 2017

In a relatively stable year for the oil and gas industry, overall M&A spend – based on deals announced – in the upstream sector reached $163 billion during 2017, according to a new report released today by Evaluate Energy.

The full report is available for download here and provides insight and analysis on all the key deals of the year around the world.

This total of $163 billion in new upstream sector deals is 17% higher than the $139 billion reached during 2016 and is also the highest annual outlay since 2014, the year the oil price first dropped in this current cycle.

Source: Evaluate Energy M&A Review for 2017

Deal counts were also up, year-over-year.

“Upstream deal values were high in 2017 compared to recent years, but the data also shows a real increase in underlying activity this year. The number of what we refer to as ‘significant’ deals – those with a value of over $10 million – was up by 10% from 2016,” said Eoin Coyne, lead author of the new report in his role as Senior M&A Analyst at Evaluate Energy.

The oil price has been the key driver behind this increased activity in what has been the strongest year for the average price since 2014. In 2017, the WTI price averaged $50.80, which is 17% higher than the 2016 average of $43.29.

The outlook for activity in the coming year is equally bright. “The WTI price hasn’t closed below $50 for more than three months and is currently trading in excess of $60, which all bodes well for market stability,” added Coyne. “Also, OPEC has extended its support for the oil price by extending its production cut to the end of 2018.”

For more on all the key deal trends in the upstream sector in 2017, download the full report here. The report includes detailed overviews of the largest deals in North America, Europe and Latin America.

Robust deal making in Latin America bucks global trend

Upstream M&A activity in Latin America has been able to largely withstand falling oil prices that stalled deal flow in many regions of the world, with deal counts largely unaffected.

That is one of the key findings of a new report on Latin America released this week by the Daily Oil Bulletin, Evaluate Energy and Sproule.

Source: Latin America: Assessing The Impact Of Oil Prices, Energy Reforms And National Oil Companies On Deal Activity.

“While motivations for various deals changed and individual deal values may have dropped in light of the price downturn, the number of deals agreed over time shows little to no correlation with the falling oil price,” said Darrell Stonehouse, report co-author and DOB’s special projects editor. “In fact, looking at deal counts alone, it would be near impossible to pinpoint when the price downturn actually took place.”

The report, entitled Latin America: Assessing The Impact Of Oil Prices, Energy Reforms And National Oil Companies On Deal Activity, includes analysis of Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. It is available for download here.

Latin America is one of the world’s fastest growing upstream environments. With major producing countries in the region racing to attract investment, the deal counts illustrate that even in the toughest of investment environments there is a willingness to deal.

Added Stonehouse: “This attraction to Latin American upstream assets, together with strategic energy reforms being implemented by Latin American governments, should mean that deals for Latin America’s upstream assets would continue to generate headlines in the near future.”

Follow Sproule on LinkedIn for the latest updates.

November saw C$976 million in new Canadian upstream deals

Canada saw less than C$1 billion in new upstream M&A activity for the first time in three months according to the latest M&A review from CanOils. November’s total of C$976 million represents a significant fall of 46 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively, from totals witnessed in September and October.

Source: CanOils M&A Review, November 2017

The single largest deal in November was another asset sale by Cenovus Energy. The company agreed to sell its Weyburn unit in Saskatchewan to Whitecap Resources, in so doing reaching a major debt milestone related to its C$17.7 billion acquisition from ConocoPhillips.

This month also saw Pengrowth Energy continue its asset sales program in Alberta, completing a C$150 million deal in Swan Hills and agreeing another minor deal in Quirk Creek. The company will focus its efforts on two assets going forward – thermal oil production at Lindbergh and Montney gas at Groundbirch.

November saw almost 28,000 boe/d put up for sale in new public asset listings. Full analysis on all deals and asset listings in November are available in the CanOils report, which can be downloaded here.

Cenovus dominates another month of Canadian M&A in 2017

According to new data in CanOils’ latest M&A review for October 2017, M&A deals involving Cenovus Energy Inc. as either the acquirer or selling party have accounted for half of all upstream deal activity in Canada between January and October.

The company has dominated the M&A landscape in Canada this year and October was no different. The new CanOils report – available to download here – analyses every Canadian upstream deal in October and focuses on Cenovus’s sale of its Palliser area assets to Torxen Energy and Schlumberger. At C$1.3 billion, this deal accounted for 81 per cent of the total C$1.6 billion M&A spend in the Canadian upstream sector in October.

In total, Cenovus has now been involved, as either the acquirer or selling party, in around C$20.5 billion of Canadian upstream deals this year up to the end of October. That equates to half of the entire upstream M&A spend in Canada in the same timeframe.

If we exclude deals in the Canadian oilsands sector, non-oilsands deals involving Cenovus in either a buying or selling capacity make up 32 per cent of non-oilsands deals in Canada, again, up to the end of October.

By the end of November, these percentages will undoubtedly increase, given the company’s most recent agreement with Whitecap Resources to part with its Weyburn unit in Saskatchewan for C$940 million.

Away from Cenovus, October did see a number of other significant deals complete. Hong Kong’s MIE Holdings Corp. completed its acquisition of the CQ Energy Canada Partnership for C$722 million; RMP Energy Inc. completed the sale of a large portion of its producing asset base on its way to becoming Iron Bridge Resources Inc. in the near future; and Crescent Point Energy revealed a set of noncore asset sales for a combined C$190 million in its third quarter results release. Over 14,500 boe/d was also put up for sale in public asset listings.

For full details and in-depth analysis, download the CanOils October M&A Review here

Canada: Top 10 non-oilsands E&P deals of 2017 so far

The major Cdn$32.1 billion in oilsands mining deals that were announced in March dominated Canadian M&A activity during the first seven months of 2017, as they comprised 87% of the overall value of transactions. But it’s important we don’t allow this to skew the significance of other deals agreed and completed this year.

Source: CanOils M&A Database

New analysis in CanOils’ latest M&A report illustrates that upstream activity picked up in terms of overall deal values throughout Q2, but the actual number of deals dropped off in June. After the second quarter ended, even though the number of new deals stayed flat, July saw three of Canada’s largest deals outside of the oilsands sector to boost deal totals.

Below are the top 10 upstream deals in Canada this year so far, away from the four huge deals in the oilsands mining sector, according to CanOils M&A data.

For more on each individual deal, download the relevant monthly M&A review at the link provided.

1) Cdn$852 million – Paramount Resources acquires 85% stake in Trilogy

The company to agree the largest single sale of 2016 has also agreed the largest non-oilsands acquisition of 2017 so far. Paramount Resources Ltd. (TSX:POU), a company that made headlines with its Cdn$1.9 billion sale of western Canadian assets to Seven Generations Energy Ltd. (TSX:VII) last year, agreed a deal for over Cdn$850 billion for the 85% stake in Trilogy Energy Corp. (TSX:TET) it did not already own. The deal will see Paramount issue Trilogy shareholders with around Cdn$455 million in Paramount stock, while the rest of the consideration is made up of Trilogy debt to be assumed, according to Trilogy’s balance sheet in Q2 2017.

For more on the largest non-oilsands deal of 2017 so far, download the NEW CanOils M&A Review for July 2017.

2) Cdn$722 million – Centrica and Qatar Petroleum exit Canada

This deal was a completely international affair, with the UK’s Centrica Plc (LSE:CNA) and Qatar Petroleum deciding to sell their respective 60% and 40% interests in the CQ Energy Canada Partnership to a consortium led by Chinese-backed MIE Holdings Corp. The deal will see the selling parties receive a share of Cdn$722 million proportionate to their ownership stake in the partnership. Centrica, having sold its interests in Trinidad and Tobago in a US$30 million deal to Royal Dutch Shell (LSE:RDSA), has now switched its E&P focus entirely to Europe, and this week signed a new joint venture agreement with Bayerngas Norge.

For more on the sale of the CQ Energy Canada Partnership, download the CanOils M&A Review for June 2017.

3) Cdn$467 million – Waterous becomes Northern Blizzard’s majority stakeholder

The largest deal to involve a Canadian-headquartered company outside of the oilsands sector this year so far saw Waterous Energy Fund become the largest single stakeholder in Northern Blizzard Resources Inc. (TSX:NBZ). Since this deal completed in May, Northern Blizzard has changed its name to Cona Resources Ltd. and is now listed under the ticker “CONA” on the TSX. Waterous acquired its 67% majority stake for Cdn$244 million in cash and Northern Blizzard’s net debt position was Cdn$223 million in Q1 2017, net to this 67% stake. The company produced just over 11,500 boe/d net to Waterous’ position in Q1, representing a cost of Cdn$40,400 per flowing barrel.

For more detail on this deal, download our M&A reports for April and May 2017.

4) Cdn$460 million – Paramount acquires Apache’s remaining Canadian assets

Paramount’s other huge deal this year was unveiled in the same press announcement as the Trilogy purchase. Paramount will be acquiring the remaining Canadian assets held by Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA) for Cdn$460 million. Unlike the Trilogy deal, no debt will be assumed and Paramount will fulfil the consideration using cash on hand rather than issuing stock.

For more on Paramount’s acquisition of Apache’s assets, download our M&A report for July 2017

=5) Cdn$300 million – Cardinal acquires light oil assets from Apache

Before the larger deal with Paramount was agreed, Apache had already agreed a Cdn$300 million deal with Cardinal Energy Ltd. (TSX:CJ) to sell light oil assets in the Weyburn/Midale area of southeast Saskatchewan and the House Mountain area of Alberta. This deal saw Cardinal’s production boosted by 5,000 boe/d, while light oil now makes up a much larger proportion of the company’s portfolio at 45% compared to medium oil output.

For more on this deal, download the CanOils M&A Review for June 2017.

=5) Cdn$300 million – Pengrowth sells Olds/Garrington area assets in Central Alberta

Pengrowth Energy Corp. (TSX:PGF) has been arguably the busiest seller during the first two quarters. Its Cdn$300 million deal in early July is the largest and most recent of the company’s divestitures so far in 2017 and reduces Pengrowth’s predicted 2017 production by just under 14,000 boe/d at a cost of Cdn$21,600 per flowing barrel.

For more on Pengrowth’s 2017 divestitures and its success in strengthening its balance sheet, download our M&A report for July 2017

7) Cdn$294 million – Painted Pony acquires UGR Blair Creek

Painted Pony Petroleum Ltd. (TSX:PPY) completed its acquisition of UGR Blair Creek Ltd. in May from Unconventional Resources Canada LP (“URC”). The deal consideration of Cdn$294 million included Cdn$48 million in net debt assumption and was otherwise satisfied via the issuance of 41 million new Painted Pony shares to URC. Painted Pony now anticipates its 2017 annual average daily production to increase by 12% and also expects to exit 2017 with production of over 73,000 boe/d.

For more on this deal, download our M&A review for March and May 2017.

8) Cdn$201 million – Twin Butte asset sales cleared in court

The only deal in this list to be announced in the relatively barren first two months of 2017. At the time, the consideration was unknown, but in March, it was confirmed that the company now known as West Lake Energy Ltd. had acquired the assets of the insolvent Twin Butte Energy Ltd. for around Cdn$201 million. Before being forced into receivership by its banking syndicate last September, Twin Butte had medium and heavy oil production of approximately 12,700 boe/d in east-central Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.

For more details on this deal (before a consideration was confirmed), download our January 2017 M&A review.

9) Cdn$185 million – Pengrowth sells assets in the Swan Hills area of Alberta

This was actually the second deal that Pengrowth Energy agreed in the Swan Hills area of north central Alberta this year, but the first of those deals has since been cancelled due to issues faced by the acquiring party in securing finance. This second deal, originally announced in April, saw Pengrowth part with 5,150 boe/d of oil-weighted production at a cost per flowing barrel of just under Cdn$36,000. In July, Pengrowth stated that it had agreed deals that helped the company reduce its net debt position by 66% and only saw proved and probable reserves decrease by 16%.

For more on this deal in Swan Hills, download our April 2017 M&A review.

10) Cdn$150 million – Paramount sells assets in Valhalla, Alberta

Paramount preceded its two huge July acquisitions by making a Cdn$150 million asset sale in the Valhalla area of Alberta in May. The buyer was not named and Paramount did not divulge a specific rationale for the agreement. The divested assets comprise of 74 net sections of land and produced 1,400 boe/d in Q1 2017, representing a cost of over Cdn$100,000 per boe to the acquirer.

For more on this deal, download our May 2017 M&A review.