The volume of global oil and gas deals hit a five-year low in 2017.
That’s according to a new report from business services firm EY, which found the total value of global transactions fell to $343 billion (£247bn) from $390 billion (£281bn) the year before.
Despite a 21% increase in single deals of more than $1 billion (£700m) in 2017, a lack of deals of more than $50 billion (£36bn) meant the total value fell.
However, the EY report still suggests the outlook for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) remains optimistic for 2018, with upstream deal value expected to increase by nearly a third.
It says this is likely to be driven by increasing activity among private equity groups and the adoption of more innovative transaction structures.
Andy Brogan, EY Global Oil & Gas Transactions Leader, said: “Risk sensitivity and a continued focus on internal performance improvement may have delayed the uptick in deal volume we expected in 2017.
“But the need to demonstrate appropriate returns is now pushing companies to reposition their portfolios and seek economies of scale, which in turn we anticipate will underpin more M&A activity in 2018.”