UAE, Oman and Iraq lead Middle East oil and gas transactions in 2013

486The combined number of oil and gas transactions in the UAE, Oman and Iraq represented approximately 60 per cent of the total number of upstream transactions in the Middle East region last year, according to Ernst & Young’s (EY) Global Oil & Gas Transactions report, which was released yesterday. Overall, the actual number of transactions in the region fell by 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.

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 region’s upstream transaction value 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 the region has seen in previous years. Within the Middle East region’s refinery sector, there are a number of potential Greenfield and Brownfield (upgrading and expansion) projects that could drive some transaction activity going forward.

“There has been a recent announcement that Occidental Petroleum is looking to sell a minority stake in its 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 Eastern market,” says David Baker, EY’s Mena Oil and Gas transaction advisory services leader.

Oilfield services transactions, however, remain low in the region, with only five transactions completed in 2013, of which three were 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 itself back up for sale after a prior sales process fell through. Remaining consistent with the past two years, no midstream transactions were completed in 2013. This is a result of a high level of state ownership and, therefore, little, if any, availability in the market.

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