GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Global Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Deals in 2021 – Top Themes by Sector,’ provides a comprehensive review of the oil and gas M&A activity during the past year and highlights the key themes that attracted a bigger share of the deals in the industry.

With oil prices edging upwards in 2021, oil and gas companies felt more confident in undertaking high-value deals to push forward their growth plans. A total of $74bn deals were undertaken in the oil and gas industry last year, compared to only 40 in 2020. The largest deal in terms of value was announced in December 2021 involving the proposed $13.9bn acquisition of North Sea operator Lundin Energy by Aker BP.

According to GlobalData, the global M&A activity in the oil and gas industry grew annually by 16% to reach $335bn in 2021, considering M&As with known deal value. All regions, except China, the Middle East and Africa, reported an increase in deal value in 2021, compared to the previous year. However, in terms of deal volume, M&A activity was largely flat at around 1,800 oil and gas deals in 2021.

The upstream sector contributed to the highest M&A transaction value of $120bn in 2021. It also recorded the highest growth of 48% compared to 2020. This growth in deal-making was largely driven by the shale and subsea themes. The US shale plays, particularly the Permian Basin, remained the most attractive target for oil and gas M&As in 2021. Besides, the oil and gas assets in the North Sea also witnessed several deals in the last year, including the one involving Lundin Energy.

According to GlobalData, Aker BP, ConocoPhillips, Pioneer Natural Resources, Cabot Oil & Gas and Santos Ltd, were among the top companies in deal-making across the upstream oil and gas sector in 2021. Brookfield Infrastructure, Energy Transfer, Qatar Investment Authority, Stonepeak Partners and Altus Midstream were among the key dealmakers across other sectors in 2021.