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North Sea's last hurrah

M&A in the region picked up in 2017, but European output was still expected to wane

A flurry of mergers and asset deals, along with a handful of promising discoveries over the past year or two, left many hopeful in 2017 that the fast-maturing North Sea still had some juice left in it. Eastern European states, meanwhile, continued to rail against Russian gas, as well as climate-change measures that might hurt their economically important coal industries. The $9bn that changed hand in deals relating to North Sea exploration and production assets in the first half of 2017 was more than the total value for 2016 as a whole, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie—and momentum continued in the second half, notably with Total's $7.45bn purchase of Maersk Oil from AP Moeller-Maers

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