TAKEOVERS $500 BLN
The world's six largest publicly traded oil producers have more than a half-trillion dollars in stock and cash to snap up rival explorers.
Exxon Mobil Corp. tops the list with a total of $320 billion for potential acquisitions. Chevron is next with $65 billion in cash and its own shares tucked away, followed by BP Plc with $53 billion.
Merger speculation was running high after Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday it withdrew an offer to buy Apache Corp. for an undisclosed amount. Apache rebuffed the unsolicited offer and wouldn't provide access to internal financial data, Anadarko said. Both companies are now takeover targets.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc has $32.4 billion available, almost all of it in cash. That said, The Hague-based company is unlikely to go hunting for large prey given plans announced in April to take over BG Group Plc for $69 billion in cash and stock.
At the bottom of the pack are ConocoPhillips with $31.5 billion and Total SA with $30.5 billion. More than 90 percent of ConocoPhillips' stockpile is in the form of shares held in its treasury. Total's arsenal is 85 percent cash.
Even with its lowest cash balance in at least a decade, Exxon still wields a mighty financial stick. The Irving, Texas-based company has $316 billion of its own shares stockpiled in the company treasury that it could use for an all-stock takeover. The world's biggest oil company by market value made its two largest acquisitions of the last 20 years with stock -- the $88 billion Mobil deal in 1999 and the $35 billion XTO transaction in 2010.
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REUTERS - Brent LCOc1 futures fell 43 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $79.14 a barrel by 0218 GMT, after climbing 35 cents on Tuesday. Last week, the global benchmark hit $80.50 a barrel, the highest since November 2014. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures eased 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $71.95 a barrel, having climbed on Tuesday to $72.83 a barrel, the highest since November 2014.
FT - Most oil majors can now cover dividends and capital expenditure at prices around $50 per barrel, meaning that, at $80, they make a healthy surplus.
EIA - The United States remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2017, reaching a record high. The United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2009, when U.S. natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when U.S. production exceeded Saudi Arabia’s. Since 2008, U.S. petroleum and natural gas production has increased by nearly 60%.
PLATTS - China became the largest contributor to global LNG consumption growth in 2017. It surpassed South Korea as the world's second largest LNG importer and its share of global LNG demand is expected to converge with that of Japan by 2030.