Of a selected 100 energy executives across the globe, 87 predict that M&A in the USA will match the hot pace of last year this year or even pick up the pace. That's according to the "Energy M&A Forecast" commissioned by the 220 energy-focused lawyers at Fulbright & Jaworski. The report covers trends globally and across all sectors of the energy industry, but has a strong emphasis on U.S. activity and one breakout for E&Ps. In a nutshell, the U.S. accounts for about half of all M&A globally, amazingly, both in terms of transactions and deal values. The report suggests this is because of ample opportunity locally and ease of doing business stateside. In fact, more than half of the overall respondents rated doing business with governments outside of their home country as difficult. No word on PDVSA's or Lukoil's response. A scant 14% of U.S. respondents would even consider doing business beyond the domestic border. Hardly anyone in the States are worried about record oil prices, with a giant majority expecting commodity prices to have no effect on M&A transactions are to even increase deal flow. Which leads to the No. 1 respondent-named obstacle to U.S. M&A---price expectation by the seller. The primary driver for energy M&A is the cost of production/realizing the economies of scale, cited by 57%. Another 44% chose access to supply/oilfields, with 36% naming new markets. Survey respondents are also expecting big deals to dominate, private equity to rise, and E&Ps to be most active among all energy subsectors. For a look at the full report, click here: “Energy M&A Forecast” Steve Toon, Editor, A&D Watch; Contributing Editor, Oil and Gas Investor; www.OilandGasInvestor.com; stoon@hartenergy.com