Global M&A tops $200 billion – largest upstream deal spend in over a decade

| By Mark Young

Mega mergers involving ExxonMobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum in Q4 skyrocketed 2023’s upstream deal value to $234 billion, based on Evaluate Energy data.

That equates to the largest annual spend in over a decade, and just $2 billion short of the largest recorded since Evaluate Energy’s M&A database launched in 2008. It is only the fourth time since 2008 that spending has topped $200 billion.

Deal counts point to a down year without Q4 activity

2023 spending was driven by three individual deals to a far greater extent than we have seen historically:

While each of the banner years 2009, 2010 and 2012 included at least one upstream deal valued at over $25 billion, in each case deal volume played a much more significant role in generating over $200 billion in M&A spending. 2023 managed to hit a comparable deal value despite a vastly reduced number of deals valued at over $100 million and $50 million.

U.S. predictably dominates

With the ExxonMobil and Chevron mega deals approximating a combined $125 billion, the U.S. dominated global deal values in 2023.

Excluding these two deals, the U.S. upstream sector still saw over $25 billion more in M&A deals agreed in 2023 than the rest of the world combined.

Much of this activity was focused on the Permian Basin – which has now amassed over $400 billion in new deals in the past 10 years.

Eight of the ten largest upstream deals were U.S. focused, including smaller deals for both ExxonMobil and Chevron. ExxonMobil completed the $4.9 billion acquisition of Denbury in November. Chevron finalised its acquisition of DJ-Basin focused PDC Energy for $7.6 billion in August.

Top 10 upstream oil and gas deals in 2023

Evaluate Energy’s M&A database holds every upstream deal worldwide since 2008, allowing daily comparisons of key metrics, corporate valuations and changes in spending behavior over time. For more on our data, which also includes data on downstream, midstream, service sector and renewable energy M&A activity, click the button below.

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