Energy deal-making has entered a lull, with the number of mergers and acquisitions down almost 30 percent this year from 2012, according to a study released by Deloitte & Touche Monday morning.
There were 338 deals during the first half of 2012. That dropped to 240 this year.
The total value of energy deals was just under $80 billion for the first half of 2013, down from $113 billion for the same time last year, as companies scrambled to complete many big deals before 2013 tax increases kicked in.
“We saw a big push to get deals done at the end of 2012,” said John England, vice chairman of U.S. oil and gas for Deloitte, in a written statement.
Large deals at the end of 2012 included the $56 billion acquisition of BP-TNK, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold’s purchase of Plains, and the CNOOC deal in Canada.
The continued worldwide economic slowdown — as well as regulatory uncertainties in the energy sector — is also responsible for the drag on dealmaking, according to the report.
The deals that have been completed are smaller as well: The overall volume of deals has fallen by more than three-fourths in 2013, and only 10 deals have been valued over $2 billion.
Deloitte expects that the rapid increase in natural gas prices since the beginning of the year may ignite dealmaking in the remainder of the year.
“Sellers who were not inclined to sell at lower prices may be encouraged by prospects for an improved natural gas supply/demand balance and lead to greater deal activity in the latter half of the year,” Deloitte & Touche wrote.