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43% of PE Firms Are Planning Global Oil and Gas Acquisitions in 2017

HOUSTON, September 21, 2016 - Capital requirements for the oil and gas sector are high; the shortage of bank-led debt financing is offering plenty of scope for Private Equity (PE) firms to invest and provide more alternative financing sources than historical options to fund the world’s future energy needs. According to a recent EY global survey of 100 PE firms active in the sector, they are readying to deploy capital into the global oil and gas sector with 25% planning acquisitions before the end of the year and 43% by the first half of 2017.(1) 

“The landscape of the oil and gas industry is shifting dramatically with a surge in companies looking to decommission and dispose of their assets, due to the lingering weakness in oil prices. As relationships with commercial bank lenders continue to change and public equity markets remain volatile, due to economic instability, one option for upstream companies looking to remove assets from their portfolios, and turn them into cash, is to partner with PE firms,” said William S. Lamb, a partner in Baker Botts' New York office. 

“The main driver for PE activity is low valuations, with the upstream sector generating the most interest. In mature regions like the UK, a particular challenge is how to manage decommissioning costs and we are starting to see this have a big impact on the structuring of deals,” added Paul Exley, a partner in Baker Botts' London office. Mr. Exley commented, “The scale and uncertainty around these costs makes it difficult to ‘price them in’ so we and our clients are looking at alternative solutions to get the deals through.” 

William S. Lamb and Paul Exley are both available to discuss the increasingly pivotal role of PE firms in the oil and gas sector, since the economic downturn, and examine what the future holds for larger upstream players looking to divest their assets. 

Mr. Lamb is a Corporate partner in Baker Botts' New York office. He advises both public and private companies in the power and utilities sector about complex mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Mr. Lamb has played a leading role in many precedent-setting transactions, involving newly developed structures and regulatory approaches. 

Mr. Exley is a Corporate partner in Baker Botts' London office and an expert in international and domestic transactional work, with a particular focus on cross-border M&A in the energy sector. Clients he has acted for include governments, oil majors, state-owned enterprises, international listed companies, banks, PE funds and other financial investors. 

(1) Capitalizing on opportunities - Private Equity in Investment in Oil and Gas - EY (June 2016) 

Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit


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