A mergers and acquisitions merry-go-round that has seen a band of new North Sea players snap up fields from the older, established energy groups spun once again last week when Chrysaor struck a $2.7 billion deal for the assets of U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips.

Much attention has focused on the private equity money driving this change. Chrysaor, for example, is backed by EIG Partners. But a cluster of smaller, listed companies are also making a splash in the mature basin.

Relatively unknown, listed minnows such as RockRose Energy and Serica Energy do not have the same deep pockets as the private equity-backed newcomers. But they have been making a mark by doing creative, often complex deals to take over unloved assets from the majors and other groups wanting to either reduce their exposure or exit the mature North Sea altogether.

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