Faced with dwindling cash and anxious lenders pushed to the brink, oil and gas exploration companies have reluctantly started to let go of acreage they have guarded through the worst of the commodity downturn.
The number of transactions for shale assets has increased this year, albeit off of low levels in 2015. For that shaky trend to solidify this year, dealmakers are hoping for not only higher oil and gas prices but, more importantly, sustained pricing levels that provide both buyer and seller comfort. Oil prices had flirted with and recently topped $50 per barrel, and while up 60% since February, lenders to exploration and production companies have retrenched, cutting off access to borrowing and forcing their clients to sell.
As of April, there were 49 asset transactions, excluding corporate mergers, for $12.7 billion, up from the 35 acreage deals worth $6.5 billion during the same time last year, according to IHS Energy, a global research and consultancy firm. And while an improvement, the recent uptick in merger and acquisition activity is well below the spring of 2014, which saw $40.2 billion in deals ahead of oil’s historic crash.
“Sellers are beginning to say, ‘You know what, I have to have liquidity; I have to have money or else my business goes down the toilet,’” said Darren Barbee, senior editor ofOil and Gas Investor magazine.Click here to continue reading.
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