Consultancy Wood Mackenzie is predicting a shake-up in merger and acquisition activity in Australia’s upstream sector, identifying a potential US$32 billion worth of assets it believes could change hands in the coming years.

One such deal is the heavily rumoured exit of ConocoPhillips from its operated liquefied natural gas plant in Australia’s Northern Territory, along with the Barossa development which is set to provide backfill gas to the facility near Darwin.

“A sale of Darwin LNG, and the capital and emissions intensive Barossa-Caldita supply project would free up capital for buybacks and re-investment in US tight oil - the focus of ConocoPhillips’s strategy in recent years,” Wood Mackenzie senior analyst David Low said.