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.