Even with an estimated pickup in A&D activity to the tune of $10 billion in transactions in the fourth quarter, a languid A&D market in 2013 is likely to see transactions totaling only a little more than $30 billion, or roughly half the level in 2012, attendees heard at Hart Energy’s A&D Strategies and Opportunities conference in Dallas last month.
Scott Richardson, co-founding principal of RBC Richardson Barr, Houston, noted that transactions in 2010-2012 were in the $55- to $60-billion range annually, with 2012 getting a bump up to almost $60 billion, driven in part by heavier-than-normal tax-related selling. Typically, the fourth quarter accounts for an outsized percentage of deal flow for the year, although the outlook was uncertain for this year, he noted.
“If we have a similar quarter this year—which I don’t think we will— we’re probably going to close the year anywhere between $30- and $35 billion, which is a pretty dramatic decrease from years past,” said Richardson.
The $10-billion estimate by RBC Richardson Barr for this year’s fourth quarter compares to $7.6 billion and $8.4 billion in transaction in the first two quarters of 2013 and $4.9 billion in the third quarter through August. The average quarterly rate of transactions last year was just under $15 billion, with $18.9 billion in the fourth quarter.
Richardson attributed the slower transaction pace in 2013 to less selling by private companies—in contrast to last year’s selling ahead of possible changes in the capital gains tax—as well as fewer joint ventures. Joint-venture activity had been “pretty frothy for two or three years,” with $7- to $10 billion a year in transactions. But this has largely dried up, with Chesapeake Energy, for example, selling interests in only $1- to $3 billion a year of properties, down from a previous pace of $5- to $10 billion.
Read the entire story in the October 2013 issue of Oil and Gas Investor.