Upstream M&A began to recover in 2016; deal count jumped 24% year on year and disclosed spend increased in each successive quarter crossing US$60 billion in Q4 for only the eighth time on record. But the story was more nuanced than these figures suggest. It was a tale of three markets: North American unconventionals (in particular the Permian Basin); Russia (geopolitics and privatisation) and the rest (underpinned by the Majors; accelerating at the end of the year). In this Insight we provide an in depth analysis of the global upstream M&A market in 2016 looking at buyers sellers regional activity valuations and more. For more information on the outlook for M&A see The fear is lifting: global upstream M&A in 2017.