​Floor of US$50 WTI expected to encourage continued deal activity in 2018

Image: Rosneft

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.”

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.

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,” Coyne said.

“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.

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