February 22, 2011 / 7:59 PM / 6 years ago

Energy, power M&A start year at fastest pace ever

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merger activity in the energy and power sector is off to its fastest ever start in a year, with nearly $94 billion in deals so far in 2011.

According to Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence, $93.7 billion of energy and power deals have been announced so far this year, up 40 percent from last year.

All natural resource sectors have been active in recent years, spurred by growth in Asian markets.

Energy deals have been particularly hot of late. Deals announced this week include BP's $7.2 billion tie-up with India's Reliance Industries (RELI.BO), BHP's (BHP.AX) $4.75 billion acquisition of Chesapeake Energy's (CHK.N) shale assets and Holly Corp's HOC.N $2.8 billion acquisition of Frontier Oil Corp FTO.N.

Power deals this year include Duke Energy's (DUK.N) $13.7 billion planned purchase of Progress Energy PGN.N.

Cross-border energy & power deals have accounted for $58.1 billion of the activity this year, or 63 percent of worldwide mergers in the sector.

U.S. targeted deals have accounted for roughly half of the volume, Deals Intelligence said.

Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Richard Chang

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