There have been a variety of notable mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across the oil and gas sector this year. Here are the top five oil and gas deals in 2023, based on reported value.

US consolidation: Exxon buying Pioneer for $64.5bn and Chevron buying Hess for $60bn

The US remains the focal point of oil and gas deals, especially the Permian basin, where the announcement of ExxonMobil’s proposed acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources for $64.5bn and Chevron’s proposed purchase of Hess for $60bn remain the largest deals of the year, though not yet completed.

The Exxon deal would bring two of the largest landowners in the Permian basin of Texas and New Mexico together. It would make ExxonMobil by far the largest oil producer in this formation, which is said to be the most prolific oil patch in the US. It would also be ExxonMobil’s biggest deal in two decades following its $75.3bn merger with Mobil in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, Chevron’s acquisition of Hess will increase its oil and gas production by more than 10%. It is also expected to lift Chevron’s annual capital expenditure (Capex) budget to $19bn-22bn, with most of that going to upstream operations and the US.

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By GlobalData

Both the ExxonMobil and Chevron deals demonstrate industry belief in demand for fossil fuels for years to come, despite increasing legislation around climate change and the recent UN climate summit COP28’s affirmation that governments will seek to begin “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems”.

Biggest pipeline deal: ONEOK acquires Magellan Midstream Partners for $19.1bn

The third biggest of the oil and gas deals in 2023 – and indeed the biggest completed deal of the year – was ONEOK’s acquisition of Magellan Midstream Partners for $19.1bn.

ONEOK offers midstream services to the states of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma. The company has a market capitalisation of $29.5bn and the transaction makes make it one of the largest companies of its kind in the US.

Overall, midstream deals dominated completed deals in 2023 in terms of both volume and value.

More Permian action: Occidental to acquire CrownRock for $12bn

In December, Occidental reached an agreement to acquire oil and gas company CrownRock in a cash and stock deal valued at $12bn. The deal, which includes CrownRock’s debt, will be funded through $9.1bn of new debt and the issuance of around $1.7bn of Occidental’s common equity. Occidental said the acquisition of CrownRock, a joint venture between CrownQuest Operating and Lime Rock Partners, bolsters its Permian basin portfolio. The transaction marks further consolidation in the US oil and gas industry. It is expected to close in Q1 2024.

Energy transition: Harbour Energy to acquire Wintershall Dea’s upstream assets for $11.2bn

Just this week, Harbour Energy signed a deal with BASF and LetterOne to acquire Wintershall Dea’s upstream oil and gas assets for $11.2bn.

This acquisition, which excludes Wintershall Dea’s Russian assets, encompasses producing and development assets, exploration rights in several countries, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) licenses. The assets included in the deal are in Algeria, Argentina, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Libya, Mexico and Norway. 

Harbour CEO Linda Z Cook noted that the acquisition in part advances Harbour’s energy transition objectives by shifting its portfolio towards natural gas, lowering its GHG emissions intensity and expanding its CCS interests into new European markets.

Together, BASF and LetterOne will own a 54.5% stake (BASF 39.6% and LetterOne 14.9%) in the enlarged Harbour following the deal. The deal is expected to be completed in Q4 2024.

Automation push: Emerson Electric buys National Instruments (NI) for $8.2bn

The biggest downstream oil and gas deal of the year saw Emerson Electric buying National Instruments (NI) for $8.2bn. This deal advances Emerson’s position as a global automation leader and expands its opportunity to capitalise on horizontal trends like nearshoring, digital transformation, sustainability and decarbonisation, the company said in a statement. It caps a nearly year-long pursuit of the measurement equipment maker NI, reported Reuters.

Emerson financed the deal primarily with cash from the divestment of its climate technologies unit to Blackstone for $14bn in 2022, as part of a move to focus firmly on automation. Austin, Texas-based NI brings a portfolio of software, control and intelligent devices to Emerson.