Energy industry fueled by strong M&A activity

A buying frenzy continued to fuel the oil and gas industry in 2012, though the overall number of deals was down compared to the year before, a new report says.

The sector was one of the most active in terms of mergers and acquisitions, with an average of four transactions announced every day last year, the report issued Thursday says. Oilfield services was the fastest-growing segment.

Accounting firm Ernst & Young’s global oil and gas transactions review shows oil and gas transactions registered at $402 billion in 2012, a 19 percent increase compared to $337 billion in deals the year before. However, oil and gas transaction volumes declined from 1,664 deals in 2011 to 1,616 in 2012, the report says.

Upstream remained the most active segment with $284 billion worth of transactions, and North America was the most dominant region for activity, the report says. There was growth in deals in Canada, while the U.S. market contracted, the report says.

Asia also saw a surge in merger and acquisition deals last year.

Going forward, Ernst & Young expects the sector to continue to see strong merger and acquisition activity this year. The firm says oil and gas companies have gotten used to making decisions in uncertain times.