$73 billion in mergers and acquisitions last quarter

Peter Huntsman, CEO of Hunstman Corp., addresses employees and area officials Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new production unit at the Huntsman Port Neches plant in 2013. Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise

The first quarter of 2017 set a record with $73 billion in announced U.S. oil and gas mergers and acquisitions, nearly triple the same period last year, according to a recent report from the London consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

More companies also prepared last quarter to go public, signaling a potential increase in initial public offerings this quarter.

RELATED: Huntsman reiterates interest in merger options

The year started “at a blistering pace,” said Doug Meier, the firm’s U.S. oil and gas deals leader.

Companies announced deals worth $49 billion in January alone — far and away the highest total of any first quarter since 2010, Meier said.

The report is a quarterly analysis of mergers and acquisitions. It includes discussion of public and private equity transactions, trends across the industry and trends across U.S. shale basins.