Mergers & acquisitions in the global upstream sector rose 35 percent from the previous year, reaching $150 billion, and that uptrend is likely to continue, Peter O'Malley, managing director and head of Asia Pacific resources and energy, HSBC said on CNBC earlier this week.
"There's no reason to think that's going to stop any time soon. Clearly the Asian national oil companies are flush with cash, they're looking for large substantial acquisitions."
In particular, O'Malley expects the Chinese national oil companies (NOCs) such as Sinopec, CNPC, CNOOC and Sinochem to engage in more and bigger acquisitions. "Since April 2009 China has announced over $30billion in M&A adding about 2 billion barrels to their reserve base," he said.
These Chinese oil majors will increasingly look to "Africa, Latin America (principally Brazil)", he added, as they search for "security of supply" and "gain new technology".
Besides oil companies, O'Malley thinks Asian miners will also be "aggressive in search of opportunities in coal (thermal) and coking", with Australia, Indonesia and Africa being key regions of focus.
However, he did highlight that such deals did face challenges, either because of local opposition or even political pressure.