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An Unexpected Oil Player Emerges in Canada

Unusual rumors in the energy M&A space last week.

Namely that the Canadian oil patch may soon get a new partner. One that's coming a long way to be there.

That's Pertamina. The national oil company of Indonesia.

The major oil firm said at a conference in Calgary that it is in talks with Canadian stalwart Talisman Energy. To take a stake in projects targeting the emerging Duvernay shale play in Alberta.

Pertamina officials confirmed they had been in lengthy data reviews with Talisman. And would continue with due diligence aimed at reaching a farm-in deal on the 352,000 acres Talisman holds in the Duvernay.

If the deal does get done, it will be an interesting barometer for the international oil scene. Showing that yet another major abroad is looking to North America as a source of growth.

There was a time when the roles here were reversed. With North American companies searching aggressively overseas for expansion assets. In fact, Talisman's relationship with Pertamina dates back to just such a deal--which saw the Canadian firm farm into five Indonesian blocks.

But today, upside in other nations is seen as limited. Especially compared to the discoveries emerging from unconventional plays across the U.S. and Canada.

The deal also points to some major shifts underway in the global energy balance. With Pertamina badly needing to up its international production. In order to replace Indonesian output that has been flagging the last several years.

The Talisman deal could thus be just the start of Pertamina's expansion. The company has said it would like to spend $50 billion over the next five years on upstream development--including mergers and acquisitions abroad. Meaning we might see this name popping up a lot more often when it comes to energy deals.

We'll see how much actually gets done. But the message is clear: North America's petro-star is still on the rise.

Here's to going where the action is,

By Dave Forest

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