American oil and gas producers and investors are still striking a lot of deals, but they're now focusing on smaller mergers and acquisitions, extending a trend that began in the first half of 2017, a new report says.
The pattern in dealmaking shows that oil and gas drillers are now focused on getting better results from their wells, following a period of giant deals to acquire land and rival companies. That earlier wave of megadeals came as producers bought up acreage in prime locations in order to drive down costs during a prolonged oil price slump.
"They've swallowed the elephant, and now they need to digest it," said Joe Dunleavy, the head of energy and utilities deals at PwC, the global accounting and consulting firm that put the quarterly report together.
There were 53 deals worth $50 million or more in the U.S. oil and gas sector announced in the third quarter, up 13 percent from last year, PwC said. The total value of those deals was $23.6 billion, down 58 percent.