• US shale oil industry undergoing expected consolidation towards larger and more efficient companies

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The anticipated consolidation of shale oil and gas companies in the USA is coming to pass, as the Financial Times has reported. Earlier in the year there was speculation that the financial pressures bearing on the sector as a result of the low oil prices brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic would force, or at least create the opportunities for, mergers and acquisitions, and this is indeed what is happening. In the second quarter of the year, US$33 billion of deals were completed, reducing the number of individual companies and creating ‘super-independents’. These new, larger companies are generally more profitable and efficient, with one industry banker saying that if “you’re below a $10bn market cap, it is going to be hard for you to sustain yourself long term.” According to analysts, there are still many smaller private and publicly held producers in the sector that are not operating efficiently, resulting in higher production costs and also oversupply. Therefore, further consolidation is expected, particularly as financial pressures from future action to curb greenhouse gas emissions may also favour companies at a larger scale.