According to EY’s Global Oil & Gas Transactions report, the combined number of oil and gas transactions in the UAE, Oman and Iraq represented almost 60 per cent of the total number of upstream transactions in the Middle East. Overall, the actual number of transactions in the region fell 40 per cent from 44 in 2012 to 26 in 2013, whereas the overall transaction value increased from $2.7 billion in 2012 to $3.1 billion in 2013.
Dr. Thorsten Ploss, MENA Oil & Gas Leader, EY, said: “Rapid-growth markets have been, in recent years, the engine room of the world’s economic growth. This provided oil and gas companies with brighter prospects, attracting them to invest in regions such as the Middle East to supply such growth.”
Upstream vs. downstream
Relative to overall oil and gas transaction activity, the upstream sector dominated both in terms of number and overall transaction value in 2013. Relative to the total global upstream transaction value, the Middle East upstream transaction value has witnessed an upward trend increasing from 0.8 per cent in 2011 to 1.5 per cent in 2012 and 1.8 per cent in 2013.
In the downstream sector there were five transactions of which two were in the petrochemicals sector. This is a similar level of activity that we have seen in previous years. Within the Middle East refinery sector, there are a number of potential greenfield and brownfield (upgrading and expansion) projects that could drive some transaction activity going forward.
David Baker, MENA Oil & Gas Transaction Advisory Services Leader, said: “There has been a recent announcement that Occidental Petroleum is looking to sell a minority stake in their Middle East oil and gas business. If this sale is to proceed, then it would represent a substantial transaction in the context of the Middle East market.”
Limited activity for oilfield services and midstream transactions Oilfield services transactions remain low in the region with only five transactions completed in 2013 with three of these being located in the UAE. However, this is an increase from the number of transactions completed in 2011 and 2012, which were two and three, respectively. One significant potential transaction in the region is that NPS Energy has recently put themselves back up for sale after a prior sales process fell through.
“The level of transactions in the oilfield service sector remains modest, even though there continues to be a desire by governments and NOCs to attract oilfield services companies into the region. This will become increasingly important, if the developments of unconventional resources in countries such as Saudi Arabia are to proceed,” said Baker.
As is consistent with the past two years, no midstream transactions were completed in 2013. This is a result of the very high level of state ownership and therefore little, if any, availability in the market.