Uptick in M&A activity reshuffling top 100 private U.S. oil and gas operators, Enverus reports

June 25, 2024

(WO) — Enverus has released its annual list of the 100 most prolific private oil and gas producers in the U.S. based on gross operated production, well count and rig movements across last year. Continental Resources and Ascent Resources remain in the top two positions on the list, with Aethon Energy moving up to the third position, according to Enverus.

"Merger and acquisition activity, particularly those involving public buyers and private sellers during 2023, have reshuffled our rankings," said Justin Lepore, lead consultant at Enverus and manager of Enverus’ Top 100 Private Operators list. "Inventory count and quality has also significantly driven private operator valuations, and in many cases, there has been a goal of growing production to become more attractive to takeout targets."

“Regionally, we see shifts, too. In Appalachia, the acquisition of Rockcliff Energy by TG Natural Resources combined their positions into one, creating space for a new entrant on our list,” Lepore said.

He continued, “Chesapeake's asset sales in the Gulf Coast led to Wildfire and INEOS Energy joining the list this year as well. In the Bakken, asset sales by Ovintiv and Crescent Point resulted in significant upward moves for Grayson Mills and Kraken, while a Permian acquisition by VTX Energy and the entry of public-Civitas into the Permian reshuffled the list, with Tap Rock assets moving down and Hibernia being removed.”

“Overall, it might be Rockies-weighted operators who saw the biggest shift as they now make up a lesser proportion of the top 20 names on the list, with new additions from Permian and Mid-con operators filling that gap,” Lepore said.

"A list like this also shows the contribution from private operators, which accounted for approximately 36% of Lower-48 oil production in 2023, with around 70% of this volume coming from the Top 100 on the list. Production is increasingly held by large, public operators," Lepore said.

The list, compiled utilizing data from Enverus Foundations and Activity Analytics, also includes a breakdown of liquids and gas production, total company well counts, recent rig programs and comparison to their rankings the previous year.

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