November 9, 2021


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Reading the signals

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Key points

  • Enverus identifies ~5.1 million square kilometers of farm-in opportunities worldwide, with offshore acreage making up 43%. Public international oil companies (I0Cs) hold 43% of the total acreage up for offer and national oil companies account for about 36%. The remainder is controlled by a mix of privates and smaller players.
  • Supermajors (BP, CVX, XOM, RDSA, TTE, ENI, EQNR and COP) cumulatively own 560,084 square kilometers of net acreage up for grabs, with 70% located in Africa and Southeast Asia. Exploration acreage accounts for nearly two-thirds of the identified opportunity, but the supermajors are unlikely to develop this acreage as most shift away from exploration to focus on optimizing their existing production base. This creates an attractive opportunity for operators looking to enter or expand their positions in those regions.
  • Although farm-in opportunities are rising through time, M&A transactions are trending down across all regions. Given that 75% of potential farm-ins are exploration assets on an acreage basis, we largely attribute the diverging trend to operators trying to offload non-prospective assets into a market with a heightened focus on high-value producing assets.
  • We estimate 80% of M&A transactions since 2017 included acreage where discoveries have been made, infrastructure is already present and/or the asset is in production. We believe this reflects a general shift in industry preference towards low-risk, short-cycle ventures given uncertainty surrounding the long-term macroeconomic environment.


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